Listening takes time and presence, of course, two commodities that are in short supply. But at least by turning aside, and not just bristling or exulting, we allow the possibility of hearing more than our initial filters allow On a Journey through. My fourth hope for this new year is that we will listen With Tom Ehrich closely to each other and to the world around us. Churchgoers have a special duty to listen. It takes time, it Tom Ehrich writes daily, lectionary-based takes patience, and it slows us down. But as God told meditations in his popular email journal, On a Journey Moses, sometimes we just have to take off our sandals (www.onajourney.org). Meditations on God in Daily Life and endure the discomfort. I know that non-listening is look at everyday events and how we can see God in dragging us down. them. Free trial subscriptions are available at What will we hear? "Too much information," as the www.onajourney.org . saying goes. What God heard was the misery of the Ehrich began his professional life as a reporter for Israelites. God's compassion flowed from hearing the The Wall Street Journal, was then called to ministry and need for compassion. Later generations would portray served several congregations as a Episcopal priest over God as vengeful judge, but the early stories portrayed a period of 18 years. After seven years as a computer God as one who turned aside to listen and who consultant, he now owns Journey Publishing Company commanded the same of people. It's the point Jesus and focuses on writing, teaching and consulting. made in the parable of the Good Samaritan. It is what Peter was unable to do when Jesus foretold his suffering. A listening world will still have noise. By listening, we don't make the world perfect. But as I told my son when Meditations on God in Daily Life we were discussing how to handle annoying classmates, Hope "The medical profession's starting point is always, 'First, do no harm.'" Non-listening makes matters worse. The Lord said to Moses, "I have observed the misery of my Listening opens the door to wholeness. people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come to deliver them from the Egyptians." (Exodus 3.7-8a) By Tom Ehrich A Message from Tom I began writing these meditations more than 10 years "Are you hearing more motorcycles lately?" asks a ago while serving as a pastor in the Episcopal Church. friend. His nemesis is a non-muffled Honda that a They began with the idea that life is a journey, and we teenager races down their street at top volume. encounter God on each step of that journey. No motorcycles near me, I respond, but plenty of Each day I try to take God out of the realm leaf-blowers and a neighbor who works on his car at 1 of the mysterious and help my readers to AM. see God in the day-to-day where they Later, I wonder what we are actually hearing. Are the actually live. noisy antisocial, inconsiderate, starved for attention, or As you read On a Journey, it is my crying for help? Or just living life on a different schedule hope that you will experience hope, courage from mine? We will never know unless we, like Moses, for living, openness to surprise and changes "turn aside" to see what is burning that bush. and eagerness for discovery – all a journey Same with a teenager's hang-dog expression after with God has to offer. school. Or a correspondent's snide comments. Or a confusing phone call. Or a glare or smile across a Tom Ehrich crowded room. We cannot know what is being said until we listen closely. Otherwise, all we hear is our own desires or defensiveness.