Monday, December 10, 2007

Dig a Little Deeper, God!

(Read Psalm 40)

I can still remember the time when I went in for my annual physical. The doctor was doing the usual poking and prodding, and then he got out the little flashlight to look into my ears. He looked in one, and then the other. He stepped back with a quizzical look on his face, and went through the procedure a second time.

That's when he turned to the medical student who was assisting him, and said, "Take a look." The student took the light, and she looked at both my ears three times! "What is it?" she asked the doctor, with a worried look on her face. "Something we need to flush out," he said with a grim look. So they filled a syringe with warm water, and proceeded to flush out my ears. "No wonder you have some hearing problems," the doc said, "take a look at what we flushed out."

And sure enough, there they were. All those angry, mean-spirited words that people use on talk radio about those they don't like. All those loud commercials that were deafening me with their screaming about what I absolutely had to have, even if I didn't need it. All those profanities flooding the dialogue in movies, adding nothing to the story, but filling my ears, my heart, my soul with garbage. All those muttered-under-my-breath epithets about all those people I just cannot stand.

The psalmist says (40:6) that God doesn't want our sacrifices, but gives us open ears. Or, as the Hebrew more graphically puts it, God gives "ears you have dug for me."

God digs out all that garbage which has stuffed our ears and builds a path to Bethlehem on which we can walk, with our ears wide open, so we can hear the voices of the poor and the needy, so we hear the knock on the door from the young couple looking for a home in our hearts, so we can listen to the anthems the angels sing, so we can pay attention to the cries of the One just born, that we might have new life.

Prayer: You may have to dig a little deeper this year, Mining God, since the noise of the world seems to be so much greater. But by your persistent efforts, we may just be able to hear a little more clearly, and listen to the whisper of your heart in our ears. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

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