For any of you who have been following The Way of Love proposed and nurtured by Bishop Michael Curry and the Episcopal Church, this Advent Calendar might be of interest. Each day suggests a small task based on the various disciplines of the way of love.
The one for today is below.
Take time to listen closely
to someone you may not ordinarily take seriously, or who has a different perspective than you. Pray to hear them as God hears them.
Yesterday at my church where we meet in small groups to discuss the subject for the day, I sat with a woman I "may not ordinarily take serious or who has a different perspective from" me. We were discussing the zeal of the apostle Paul and wondering what in the world it was that drove him to travel so far and be so zealous about the Love of God...questions like how did he do it, where did he get all the energy.
This woman I didn't know very well said that maybe it was because he was able to be with people in small groups and have conversations and get to know them. She said speaking in front of large groups is difficult and hard to make your point. She told about her experience with Toastmasters, a public speaking group, which helped her.
When the conversation changed to creating a web site, which is one way of spreading your zeal, another person at the table said he was struggling with how to get his art website out to the public. The woman I mentioned suggested calling The Louvre and just telling them about his website. Then we discussed the collection of art at our church after which my new friend said that the best collection of art she had ever seen was in Sarasota at the Ringling Museum. and the conversation continued with all of us chiming in about John and Mable Ringling's fabulous collection both in the museum and in their house Ca d' Zan.
I heard my new friend as God hears her, I am certain. All I did was Go to church as I try to do every Sunday. And there I had the honor and privilege of sitting with someone I had a very different perspective from. You see, my new friend lives on the streets of downtown Jacksonville. She is homeless and often thought to be schizophrenic. But yesterday I heard her as God hears her...perfectly sane and articulate. Oh that I could hear all people in my life with the ears of God.