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Listen to the Grumbling

Today’s Reflection

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.

Today’s Question

How do you answer Jesus: “What do you want me to do for you?” Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.

Exodus 20:8, NRSV

This Week: Pray for families in conflict. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Gabriel Francis Possenti (February 27).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2018 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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{ 17 comments… add one }

  • Jill February 27, 2018, 3:46 am

    What I have been asking God these past few days is that He would be merciful with my mom and her suffering, and that He would strengthen my dad.
    There continues to be incremental progress. Mom was up and walking a wee bit yesterday – with a nurse beside her in case she tottered. Her sarcastic sense of humor has returned, so I know she is heading in the right direction. Dad continues to be encouraged by what he sees.
    Sorry to hear the news about Isis, Robert. Prayers for you and Erich – as you bid farewell to Isis and welcome a new rescue. How lucky that newbie will be. Marcy – I continue to pray for you – grace sufficient for the day. Glad you are back connected to us.

    • Andrea February 27, 2018, 11:31 pm

      Jill, I am condident God is with you, staying very close to you, your parents and your sister. I hold you all up to God’s Light in my prayers and know you will be strong. Blessings.

      • Andrea February 27, 2018, 11:51 pm

        *confident*

  • Betsy February 27, 2018, 6:58 am

    God is listening, Jill. His answer to your mom’s prayer is you close by her side. Continued prayers for you and your dad with your mom’s recovery.

    Robert, So sorry to hear about your beloved Isis. We’ve also had to put a cherished pet down when the pain of arthritis got too debilitating. Our pets are part of the family, but hopefully a new cat will come into your lives.

    I’ve been out of town for a few days and I’ve enjoyed going back and reading posts from all our prayer family. So good to “see” Marcy back! Blessings to all who join us this day.

    • Andrea February 27, 2018, 11:46 pm

      I am also home from my trip. A good trip, and very good to come home and find my husband is much, much better. Yes, it is very good that Marcy is back. And I agree, it is very hard to lose a special cherished pet. I still miss our beloved cat Trahpi, how she crawled under the blankets at night and slept by my feet. She died 30 years ago. Our pets give us a very deep, devoted love, a hint of God’s endless love for us. Blessings.

  • Joan February 27, 2018, 7:48 am

    Wonderful reading. Thank you.

  • robert moeller February 27, 2018, 7:52 am

    I would like to see a resolution to Erich’s hunt for the job that works for him.
    I’m retired, have sufficient income, health insurance, and am doing fine. My needs are met.

    Prayers for Jill’s Mom and Dad, Jill, and her sister. One day at a time with steady progress. Thankful for the progress made thus far.

    Prayers for Julie’s hands and foot, her daughter’s job interview, the strong and real fears, the ability to be mobile. Julie, your strong witness and faith will help you. Tie a knot in your rope and hang on! Love that line from Thomas Jefferson that you shared.

    Healing and gaining strength for Marcy. As Jill writes you put wind in our sails. Thank You, Lord.

    Thank you Betsy, glad you have been able to review past posts, and are safely home. Should see some new cats at the shelter today.

    Blessings and thanks to all the UR family for your posts, sharing, sympathy, and love. Anneliese has not had any heart palpitations for two days. Perhaps the anti-Lyme treatment is having some effect. Lyme disease can cause these.

    • julie February 27, 2018, 8:06 am

      How wonderful for you and Erich. I hope knowing that he is giving a very deserving kitty a good and warm home helps Erich heal. Bless you and Erich and I am so happy for that kitty.

    • Andrea February 27, 2018, 11:34 pm

      I pray Erich senses God’s presence as he grieves Isis’ loss, and I pray his job hunt leads him to a job that is good for him. I pray too for you, Robert, for your strength and health, and that Anneliese will find relief from pain and discomfort.

  • Julie February 27, 2018, 8:01 am

    Jill, good to hear that your mother is doing so well. Hopefully your father will realize that when your mom is down that is when she needs him to be strong and pull her along.
    Betsy, good to hear from you. I continue to pray for you and the members of your family you have asked us to lift up in prayer.
    I continue to seek God’s healing. In all aspects of my being and life.
    Blessings and prayers for each of my UR friends, may you have a wonderful day.
    It’s not what happens to you, but how you react that matters.
    Epictetus

    • Andrea February 27, 2018, 11:37 pm

      Jukie, I am praying for you and your daughter. May God meet the needs of both of you. Thank you for the inspiring quotes you give us at the end of your comments. God bless you.

      • Andrea February 27, 2018, 11:38 pm

        *Julie*

  • April February 27, 2018, 9:42 pm

    This reading reminds me of trying to discern what my babies were trying to tell me when they could not speak. Was it tummy ache, teething, tired, bored, etc….it was anything unusual. How attentive I was when I was tuned in, but how I ignored this when I was not. Poor dears…and so, the same with everyone in my life. I need to be attentive to their grumblings so that I can discern their needs…and likewise, others can discern my needs. Only by knowing each other can we be aware of what is different, what is bothering them, even if they do not know themselves, and respond as the hands and feet of Jesus. During this time of Lent, may I be more attentive to those around me, especially my co-workers and family, that I may reach out in Christian love and ask, what would you like me to do for you. Blessings and joy this evening, my UR family…sleep well.

    • Andrea February 27, 2018, 11:50 pm

      Thank you, April. I too pray to be more focused on others’ needs and how I can respond in love. I pray too for families in conflict. Blessings.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling February 27, 2018, 10:42 pm

    Dear God, a better job please. One that is not overwhelming. Thank you.

    Blessings to all

    • Andrea February 27, 2018, 11:27 pm

      Yes, dear God. Please give Mary a better job, one that it is,satisfying and rewarding. IJN, Amen

      • Mary Ng Shwu Ling February 28, 2018, 4:40 am

        Thanks so much dear Andrea

        May all be well with you and your family

        Blessings

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