Listening to a memorial service broadcast on radio it occurred to me how many demands we make on God. If we cut out the music, readings and eulogies the service was all about asking God for his mercy, compassion etc for those who had died and those who mourned. But God did not get a word in.
How often do we sit and listen to God? Do we ever sit and listen?
The readings help a bit – some previous wisdom gives us something to think on. But these are readings chosen by men from the writings of men. Do we doubt God so much that we have to fill the silence with our requests? Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we shouldn’t make requests, I am seeking connections with God, indeed a relationship with God and one thing we learn very early in our life about relationships is that two-way communication is essential. Those who don’t stop talking often have hearing problems and use talking to mask their disability.
Viewed this way the memorial service was very worthy, caring for members of our society is important, but it was communication in one direction only. The suspicion is that everyone involved was deaf. God didn’t get a word in. The next question is, of course, did he hear the pleas, and did he try to respond? How do we know if he tried?
The truth is he might not have done. God didn’t get a word in; maybe he knew no-one would be listening. Faced with an unrelenting barrage of requests I think I would have gone for a cup of tea and waited for the noise to die down. That of course is the big mistake. I should not presume that God might act like a human. We make God in our own image far too often. Historically man’s books of religion tell us that his attributes are human and his behaviour human. It’s not like that at all.
Many attending that service or listening on the radio will have felt a tug at their emotions, have recalled their love for one departed, been distracted by a random thought, have reached a conclusion to some problem, or modified a firmly held belief during that service. It is that kind of way in which we hear God. He calls on our spirit, not on our ear drums. The hope is that through the music and the emotional involvement our spirit will open up and the peace of God will visit, will linger and hopefully create a lasting relationship.