Listen To Him
I recently skimmed Gail Blanke’s Throw Out Fifty Things, in which she uses physical clutter metaphorically for the emotional clutter some people live with. She makes the case that taking the time to clean up and clear out our physical space can have a positive influence in all areas of our life. I do not doubt this is true, but I am still a long way from throwing out 50 things!
I do know from experience that living life with a spiritual focus requires creating and maintaining “space” in my life. It is not usually the physical clutter which impedes this space, but priorities, busyness and worry I find encroaching on the pursuit of God. I have also found that a short day to day consistency is of more value than an occasional extended block of time. Five or ten minutes at the beginning of the day and the same at night before going to sleep can have an amazing impact on my attitude and productivity. As usual, it is Jesus who is our model for creating space in our lives for God. Time after time the gospels tell us that Jesus would slip away from the crowds and disciples to spend time with his heavenly father. Once such account from Mark 9:2-8 follows:
“Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and brought them to the top of a very high mountain where they were alone. He was transformed in front of them, and his clothes were amazingly bright, brighter than if they had been bleached white. Elijah and Moses appeared and were talking with Jesus. Peter reacted to all of this by saying to Jesus, “Rabbi, it’s good that we’re here. Let’s make three shrines—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He said this because he didn’t know how to respond, for the three of them were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice spoke from the cloud, “This is my Son, whom I dearly love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.”
Seeing and listening to Jesus exclusively is the point of making space in our lives. We live with a lot of noise in and around our life – life is noisy! One memory of Mexico City I still carry with me is being on the streets with friends and having to shout our conversation to each other over the noise of the city. Sometimes the noise is internal as we ruminate over our current circumstances. In the midst of the noise we need a place we can go wherein we can hear with crystal clarity the voice of Jesus. In the story of Jesus’ transfiguration, Peter James and John were told to give their attention to Jesus above and beyond the attention given to Moses or Elijah (law and the prophets of the Old Testament). This demonstrates that even other good voices must fade so that we can hear the great voice of Jesus.