Thought for the Day: We have a joke around the house – when the TV is a bit too loud and someone asks, “Can you turn it down,” the response is always, “What! I can’t hear you over the TV. Maybe I should turn it down.” There are times in history when the noise has been intense, and all the cultural clamoring leaves most folks confused over what is worthy of their attention. In the end, there is a tendency to focus upon the loudest and/or most flashy. To hear Jesus, the Shepherd, requires us to be aware and deliberate. Awareness is not simply an awareness of Jesus, but how there are those whose primary purpose is to confuse and distract us from our core values. They play on our fears, throw lots of confusing rhetoric at us, and then offer a simple solution that usually requires us to hate someone or some group. This approach has been resurrected and repurposed for centuries. Awareness requires us to look behind the curtain and see who really is benefiting. Yet simply being aware is not enough. We also must be deliberate in how we attune our ears to the voice of Jesus. How did Jesus speak? To whom did he speak? What was his overriding purpose when he spoke? For those answers we must spend time in the Gospels. Sadly, among Christians today, part of that intentional confusion and distraction is to draw upon obscure passages from the Bible, taking them out of context, and then somehow imposing them upon the lips of Jesus. I see this happen a lot, and it often ends with Christians thinking that Jesus wants us to hate someone or some group. Even today, I believe Jesus yearns for us to hear his voice, yet to do so requires us to be aware and deliberate.
Prayer: Your love beckons me, Heavenly Shepherd, yet too often my attention is pulled away by those who only wish to use me. Call to me through your words of grace and mercy as they have the power to invoke within me a YES to your invitation. Amen.
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Rev. Bruce Frogge