Today, if you hear God’s voice…

Close up book on table in sunset timeThe predominately African church sang this over and over before the Scripture reading:

Today, if you hear God’s voice open up your heart before Him.
Today, if you hear God’s voice open up your heart before Him.
Today, if you hear God’s voice open up your heart before Him.

It was sung in classic African style. One voice, then the African choir, followed by the entire congregation. It was not printed in a bulletin as all of the regular worshippers knew what to sing and when to join. It was a people’s prayer, and a powerful moment containing a word of instruction on what to expect when reading the Bible and then, what to do when something happens.

We live in a time that fights this idea – connecting with anything beyond  is almost considered taboo. Today is Monday, and I imagine for most of us conversations will range from sports to school to kids – the mystical is off limits. In our time, we are our universe. There is not much consideration of anything larger than us.

Until it appears.

Personally, I am still absorbing the impact of Pope Francis visiting our country. Here is a guy who spoke to world leaders while also taking time to stop his car and bless a child. He was a guest at the White House – a place many of us have been. He was a guest at a prison – a place most of us do not have the guts to go.

In the same spirit as Jesus, the Pope crossed lines because what he knows is that something spiritual has the chance to occur when we do. When we cross a line we see that life on the other side is pretty similar to our own. The needs of a refugee are much like ours, and the last, least, and lost describe me as much as I might use the label on another. The spiritual moves when we step across.

Frequently, before some work of power the Bible tells us Jesus felt moved. In Mark 1 Jesus meets a leper;

iStock_000003157643_SmallA leper came to him, begging on his knees, “If you want to, you can cleanse me.”
Deeply moved, Jesus put out his hand, touched him, and said, “I want to. Be clean.”

Jesus crossed a line, and in doing so made a moment. The reason we read that story today is not so much because Jesus healed a leper, but that when we act the same way in our world all of us will be healed.

Behind this, of course, is a connection with something very spiritual. Jesus had his disciplines. He was a man of prayer, Scripture, and worship. All these practices kept a connection so that when God spoke that day Jesus would listen and follow through.

We can live that way too. Our African brothers and sisters have some good advice for the rest of us.

Today, if you hear God’s voice open up your heart before him.


(thanks for reading, if you found Jesus in this please comment and share)

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