This morning's readings: Ps. 24:1-6, Pbs. 15:23, Mt. 5:13-16
It's all good stuff. The Gospel passage is about salt and light and suddenly I have Steven Schwartz playing in my head. Ah, Godspell. The Psalm is well known, too and echoes the Psalm assigned to be read in worship this Sunday, "Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?" Good stuff. But it's the Proverb that has me thinking this morning.
To make an apt answer is a joy to anyone,
and a word in season, how good it is!
True enough. Good advice, the right answer, the thoughtful word...all good stuff. But it's more than that, isn't it. This isn't really about the answer but what preceeds such an answer: listening. The answer rings true because we know we have been heard, we have been acknowledged, and understood.
So often I'm called to find the right answer. It's about intellect or smarts. True enough. But it's also about listening or more often in my case, reading between the lines. Most of the questions I encounter are between the covers of a book. Who is the author? What is she actually trying to tell us?
How might I listen better?
I'm trying hard not to listen too often during the election. The twenty-four hour news cycle is a bit much for me. Still, this is a time for all of us to listen. Fact checking will come, but can we really hear one another? If we want to have the right answer to the troubles that plague our time, one of the things we need to do is listen to one another better. We'll then know more about our shared troubles (more facticity is a good thing), but more importantly, we'll know one another.