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The Last Day Of Your Life?

Repent, and believe in the Gospel
Mark 1:12-15

Sermon Topic Listening

Sermon Week First Sunday of Lent Cycle B

Scripture Summary Mark 1:15

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There are times when we yearn for peace and quiet -- away from the honking horns, the screeching brakes, the blaring boom boxes, the throbbing washing machines, the jarring jetliners. We treasure such periods of tranquility -- periods of rest for our sensitive ears. But do you know how difficult it would be to find a moment of peace and quiet if our ears were only a bit more sensitive?

If they were but slightly more powerful, we would be tuned into the chatter of rats. Were our ears three times more powerful, we would be tuned into our own heartbeats and digestive processes. Were they five times more powerful, we would hear what field mice were saying. If they were seven times more powerful, we would hear what bats were saying.

And as the din grew louder, as more of nature's secret sounds assaulted our sense of hearing, the possibilities for peace and quiet would decrease proportionately. If our ears were exposed to all sound, the roar would be intolerable -- deafening.

Scientists tell us that the deaf person who suddenly recovers the sense of hearing is likely to find exposure to the world of sound a frightening experience. It is not uncommon for the cured person to seek to return to the world of silence. It takes time and conditioning to learn how to interpret sounds and to distinguish between those that threaten and those that do not. Being born with the ability to hear is not of our own doing. But the ability to listen -- to be a good listener -- is an art that we develop ourselves.

The noted Howard University Scholar, Charles T. Copeland, was
once approached by a student who asked, "Why are there no courses in conversation? Is there anything I can do to learn the art of conversation?" "Of course there is," Copeland replied, "and if you'll just listen I'll tell you what it is." Then, there was a long and awkward silence. Finally, the student said, "Well, I'm listening." To which Copeland replied, "You see, you're learning already."

In today's [...]

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