February 22, 2021

Listening Deeply

February 22, 2021

By Sharon Cox


Ephesians 2:10

During this pandemic, I have been incredibly grateful for the ways in which life has slowed down with time for reflection and soul searching. As we enter the season of Lent, I find myself going deeper and finding ways to be more intentional about my spiritual growth. Through reading, participating in educational efforts, and expanding my awareness of mindfulness and contemplative prayer, I notice that I am in a different place this year. Instead of thinking of Lent as a time of deprivation, I resonate more with this being a time of reflection, listening deeply for what I need to hear in order to walk the talk of my faith.

My Sunday school class, Seekers, has been particularly helpful in this regard by inviting speakers who challenged us to be more honest about social justice issues, such as “white privilege” and a need for inclusivity with those who are different than us knowing that we are all God’s children. I have seen God at work through participating in church activities which draw attention to the impact of racism, such as reading the Color of Compromise and recognizing how the church has been complicit in this over the years. I have been heartened by those in our class who are participating in Race and Faith small groups to get to know our African American neighbors from nearby churches. I have seen God at work through the people in our class involved with Draw the Circle Wider, a group that meets weekly to provide education and support to those in our midst dealing with issues around homosexuality.  Even though our class has been unable to meet in person, I have been heartened to see our level of giving for missions and outreach has increased substantially over past years. Our pastoral care for each other has remained a priority through calls to those who are not in our weekly Zoom sessions and meals provided as needed. Whether we are meeting to get a carload of clothes for Open Table or providing morning devotionals for the women at Healing Housing, this class is all about doing and not just writing checks. They are my brothers and sisters in Christ and continue to be a source of support on my faith journey while also showing me new ways to experience God’s grace. 

As I listen more deeply this Lenten season and feel such gratitude for the gift of time, I am also acutely aware after watching the news of how much work we have to do. In his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul writes, “He creates us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” Ephesians 2:10 (The Message). My soul searching leads to one question: How can I  best serve the needs for love in this world? How can you best serve the needs for love in this world?