The Weekly Epistle 5/8/24

Hi Church Family,
Have you ever been singing a song to discover that you are belting out the wrong lyrics? Before the days of google, I thought the Neil Diamond song, “Forever in Blue Jeans,” was “A reverend in blue jeans.” And I used to sing, “Every time you go away, you take a piece of meat with you.” Maybe it was because my dad was a butcher. Or I just wanted to purposely mess with the lyrics. I won’t even tell you what I used to do with some of your favorite hymns. 

I recently read that there was a scientific explanation for our goofed-up lyrics. It is called, “Mondegreens.” Apparently, the explanation for the phenomenon is that when you hear a song “you are getting an input signal that is muddled with background music, rhythms, and syllabification that makes it hard for your brain to interpret everything at once.” 

You might be concerned right now that my brain is muddled. Well, that is a subject for another time. There is a point in here somewhere! It may be harmless when it comes to song lyrics, but getting input signals from God that are muddled with background noise might not be so harmless to our Christian life. How do we discern the voice of God with all the cultural noise and its worldview going on in the background? 

We all need a voice that we can trust. There are the voices of our peers. There are trendy voices, media voices, entertainment voices, our own “want to” voices, professors’ voices, and even religious voices. All these competing voices leave our heads spinning and God’s voice muddled in the background. 
Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” How can we listen to the voice of the trustworthy shepherd, Jesus Christ, that settles the noise around us and can speak peacefully into our souls? We may cry out, “But God doesn’t speak loud enough.” But is that the issue really? 

I can’t help but think of the incident in Elijah’s life in which God was not in the powerful wind that tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks. God was not in the earthquake or the fire. God was in the gentle whisper (see I Kings 19:11-13). “God speak louder, please.” Yet He came to him in a gentle whisper. 

I am not suggesting that we are to practice the discipline of solitude for God to speak (though that probably wouldn’t hurt). I am not recommending that we learn the techniques of mindless meditation to clear our minds (though we could benefit from some decluttering). I am suggesting that we find ways to intentionally break away from all the noise to read the Word of God, pray, journal, worship, reflect, etc. and allow the Spirit of God to speak into your life. 

God has spoken! He has spoken through His creation. He has spoken through the person of Jesus Christ. He has spoken His word to us that has been written down so that we may know Him and grow to know Him better. 

God has spoken and continues to speak. Are we listening? As young Samuel aptly said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” May that be the cry of our heart. May God strip away all the noise that we may be freed to hear Him for it is His voice that we can trust the most! 

Blessings, Pastor Brian