Listening Church.

My church.  I could spend a blogs worth listing the strange and unchristianly practices under roof called ‘church’, as power does corrupt absolutely amongst human types, this truth is consistent.  There is one practice, however, in my church, that I believe is the therapy and growth of some who decide to grasp on.  That of devoting a Sunday now and again to listening.  Church members telling their story while we the parishioners sit quietly and take it in.

The hour sometimes drags a bit.  We are not a generation of listeners.  The details of another persons life might escape us.  We can barely tolerate a 3 part sermon with a few overhead movie clips thrown in.  And still in that hour, if we allow for it, we learn to care.  Caring has gone out with front porches.  With Sunday afternoon lunches after church.  With aluminum kitchen table legs and oatmeal mush.  And with it, we’ve hardened our hearts to each others details.  We become irritated if the other hasn’t gotten to the microwaved point.  We judge when a person tells ‘dirt’.  “TMI, TMI!!”, we set each other straight.  We shame, and throw sideways glances.  We shift in our seats.  The discomfort of it all. 

Unless a quieting of our spirits… 

Unless we really listen to what is being shared… 

Underneath our shouting defenses, if we hush and be still, we find a current of life that resembles someone very much like ourselves.  Rather than noting all the ways I am far removed from this show-and-tell, I choose to feel the rawness of what we have in common.  I notice the way the teller’s story parallels my own and many I love.  I experience the saving of a life. The saving of a soul.  Of mine and yours.  The face seen from a distance is now known.  In the telling, it’s evident she knows more of my story than I ever imagined.   

Kitchen table worship, that’s what I call it.  Worshiping a grand God who knows all of my story and yours and stays near in the knowing. 

Kitchen table

Sat with you

The morning sun came shining

I told it all

The hard part too

Is hard to speak dark truth

Checkered cloth

A few toast crumbs

A cup of tea and salty tears

They run through me

And now you know

And so does God

Both still quite near.

Kitchen table

Sat with you

The morning sun came shining

I told it all

The hard part too

Less hard to speak dark truth.

A Sunday listen, even for the masses, is a good kitchen table’s worth of worship.  Good to know and be known.  Living the Gospel, really.  Good news that we are a mess, God knows it and moves near just the same.    

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