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On a Journey

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					                                                                      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.

				
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posted:4/8/2010
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