Some years ago . . . I read a Lenten booklet in which the writer urged me to renounce all my grumbling during the season of Lent. . . . What would happen, I thought, if instead of giving up my grumbling this Lent, I listened to it for the first time in my life? Listened with respect! Usually when a negative feeling confronted me, either I tried to drive it down or I just submitted to it. Neither of these approaches is respectful. I might not do what my negative feelings direct, but I could try with honesty to listen to what lay at the roots of this grumbling. . . .
One particular scripture story became for me a wonderful metaphor of sincere and respectful depth listening: the story of the blind beggar Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52) who sits by the roadside hopefully calling out to Jesus to pay attention to him and heal him. Some of the people in the crowd try to hush him up. (Probably they felt, as we so often do, that he should set his mind on “higher things.”) The more they try to silence him, the louder he shouts.
Jesus turns to him instantly and asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” Within each of us is that which cries out, begging to be heard. Often the manner of its crying out is expressed through grumbling, negativity, irritability, anxiety. To shout down the cry, to put it out of the room, to breathe it away, or to shake it off is not the Christian, the incarnational way.
Let us learn to pay attention, to listen, and to question that which cries out in us: Who are you? What are you trying to tell me? And then let us learn to listen and respond to Jesus’ question: “What do you want me to do for you?” It is both astonishing and revealing what will surface if we keep patiently asking and listening to our inner Bartimaeus!
– Flora Slosson Wuellner
Feed My Shepherds: Spiritual Healing and Renewal for Those in Christian Leadership
From pp. 67-68 of Feed My Shepherds: Spiritual Healing and Renewal for Those in Christian Leadership, by Flora Slosson Wuellner. Copyright ©1998 by Flora Slosson Wuellner. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
How do you answer Jesus: “What do you want me to do for you?” Share your thoughts.
Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.
Exodus 20:8, NRSV
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This week we remember: Gabriel Francis Possenti (February 27).
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