Oh would you just listen!

I’ve been walking in the company of ghosts for the past few weeks, spending time in burial grounds and a number of sacred sites in preparation to write about how we deal with such places.  The transfiguration – a traditional reading for the Sunday before Lent, is a reading about being in the company of ghosts.
There is something very silent about a graveyard, I guess it is probably because it is a place which we expect to be silent – and our senses do not disappoint us – we hear what we expect to hear, we feel what we expect to feel.
Peter is busying himself with plans for booths, hospitality for the ghosts atop the mountain, but through it all comes the voice of God – ‘Would you just listen to him?’
We are so very good at not listening in so many different ways.  Doctors speak of patients with the diagnosis from google, expecting the prescription, yet they have not let the doctor look at the symptoms.
One of the many subjects for clergy to moan to each other about on CMD days is others trying to tell them their job – even this morning, if you listened to Radio Wales you would have heard Anne Widdecombe trying to tell Bishops not to be involved in politics.  if we take the gospel seriously we can’t help but get involved in issues of the day and that often involves challenging politicians.  They would rather we left professional politicians to politic together and deal with individuals and their issues.  I would rather they left political manoeuvring  out of social reforms and acted with compassion, but who am I?
The command from God, ‘Listen to him’ does not come lightly.  Stop building booths, mission strategies, files of answers to questions found on Google to obscure what Jesus is saying in the Gospels.
It was the stroke of genius and the wisdom of Jesus that led to the overthrow of the Roman Empire by the early church.  They did it from the inside out and as Jesus had shown up their violence to be worthless usurping the empire from the inside out was only a matter of time on the part of the Christians that followed.  It certainly wasn’t a passive takeover, but it wasn’t violent either.  However, with the genius of Constantine – if you can’t beet em join em and with the backing of the Might of the Roman empire christians went and began to build booths!  The urgency had been lost.  If we had to start again, what would we do first?  Lent begins this week – I would strongly suggest we take a leaf out of the story of the Transfiguration.  Stop being quite so busy and listen to God and to Jesus.

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