Every once in a while, someone will ask me to whom my sermon was directed. I think most folks who ask this think I somehow got into their minds and was preaching about them. But I always assure people that the primary person I am preaching to is myself, something on which I need work. I share my struggle because I often hear echoes of my struggle in others’ struggles as well.
Well, this past Sunday I preached a sermon directed at myself, without even realizing it! On Sunday we celebrated Transfiguration Sunday, this year using Matthew’s Gospel[i]. In Matthew’s Gospel, God says, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” In my sermon, I talked about one of the things we all need to do this Lent is listen to Jesus. Sunday night, by the time three services and one concert was over, my voice was gone. By Monday, I was diagnosed with laryngitis.
Now, we can all get a laugh about how the preacher who reminded us all to listen is now mute and forced to listen to Jesus. But I must be hardheaded, because I think Jesus was already asking me to listen just a few days before. The week prior to my sermon, I had just returned from a pilgrimage, and was frantically trying to meet deadlines, follow up on pastoral care, and catch up on emails. But we got a snow on Thursday night that cancelled school on Friday, and I had to clear my entire calendar so I could be at home with my kids. Instead of making all my appointments, I sat down and did other things from my home office that were also being neglected. I am convinced the snow day was God’s way of trying to get me to slow down, and listen to Jesus. Apparently, I need more than one sign from God before I listen!
I wonder what signs you are finding in your faith journey? Where are you having ah-ha moments of God speaking truth that finally click? I believe God is speaking to us all the time: sometimes in words directly to us, sometimes through the words and actions of others, and maybe even sometimes through creation! As we take our ashes today, and as we begin a season of intentional relationship with God, I invite you to take time this Lent to listen. I cannot wait to hear what God is saying to you!
[i] Matthew 17.1-9.