Lenten Meditation 34, April 3

Monday, April 3

Psalm 143
1 Kings 17:17-24
Acts 20:7-12

by The Rev. John Buenz

Too Much Talking, Not Enough Listening
ECA Lenten Mediations from Acts 20:7-12

Paul had a lot to say and for most of it we should be grateful. His companion, Luke, remembered much of what he said, including some with an almost humorous down side. On occasion Paul talked when he should have been listening. This reading suggests piece of advice worthy of practice during Lent, especially when clergy and elders are tempted to give advice.

Paul is about to depart from Troas, and he can’t resist the temptation to “preach a sermon that went on till the middle of the night..and carried on talking on till he left at day break”. A young man falls asleep, falls over a balcony and drops three stories. Paul is able to notice, checks him out and then keeps on talking.

More is often learned by listening than by talking. Lent is a learning season, that is to learn from listening as prelude to pondering what Christ has to whisper in the inner ear of the soul. As an occasional preacher, I have had my share of kind but pointed hints to shorten up. I hope to remember Paul’s example and suggest that learning by listening might be considered as a discipline. That’s especially relevant when tempted to give advice to young people who have to learn by listening to their own experience. You can tell when they fall asleep.