Devotions from Tri-City ELCA Churches – Tori Valcarcel, Ministry in Context Student, March 9, 2021

Devotion for March 9, 2021 from Tori Valcarcel, Ministry in Context Student at CTK and HTLC:

“Then Jesus said, whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

Mark 4:9 NIV

Listen Up! Pay Attention! Hear what I have to say!

I heard Matthew 11:15 quoted recently, and it got me to thinking about the powerful nature of what Jesus is commanding us to do. Clearly it is important to Christ that we listen- that we not only use our ears to hear, but actually listen. The phrase comes up more than once (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Revelations to name a few), so it might be something we really should listen to.

But what, exactly, are we listening to? What is it that we listen for? What, in 2021, is the Word telling us that we should strive to attune our ears, swivel our heads away from the constant cycle of news and social media, change the station from all of the auditory demands that shout and clamor for our attention?

If you experience tinnitus, perhaps you know just how hard it is to stop listening to a particular sound, especially one inside your own head. Perhaps the challenge in Jesus’ command (for there is always a challenge, it seems) is not the challenge of listening to, trying to puzzle out parables and find hidden meanings. No, maybe the challenge is to stop listening; to stop listening to the voices inside our heads that tell us lies about who we are and what we are worth, to stop listening to the external voices that shout and sing and whisper for our precious attention.

I can’t promise you a certain interpretation of Scripture, or a particular lesson to be gleaned from Mark 4:9, or Matthew 11:15, or any other time when Jesus demands we listen. To me, one of the most beautiful aspects of the Word is the unique ways it unfolds for us all. Like listening to a song, we might appreciate different parts, at different times, in different places. You might be in tune to the thrumming bassline, while I am moved to tears by the chorus. Scripture speaks to us as loudly and with far greater importance than any worldly distraction. So I invite you- listen up! Pay attention! Hear what the Lord is saying to you!

Grace & Peace be with you,


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