Deuteronomy 18: 15-20; Psalm 95; Mark 1: 21-28
As you know, I was out in New Mexico last weekend and spent six days in the desert on a Native American Reservation. If you’ve never done it, you should make it part of a list of things to do at some point. The four times that I have gone out there now and I always reminded of one thing, and that is the need for silence and space around my heart. There are so many voices that vie for our attention day-in and day-out, that the only way we will hear and recognize the voice of God as the Psalmist tells us today, is to find that space and that silence around our heart. If we don’t, our hearts become that hardness that the psalmist writes of, “If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.” The link between these readings today is that voice that speaks with authority. The Lord speaks through Moses saying that there are consequences if we choose not to listen to the voice of God speak and act upon it; he says death is the price. In reality, that death is the hardness that we hear of in that psalm…our heart grows hard to where all we hear are all those other voices, which swallow up the one that speaks with authority in our hearts. We have to believe that many in Jesus’ time, certainly the religious leaders, had those hardened hearts as well; they didn’t recognize the authority that he spoke with because they also could not find it within themselves. It’s what we seek and requires hard work on our part, to create that space, that sacred space, that frees us to hear that voice speak to us so that we can be those prophetic voices raised up in our world. That silence doesn’t have to just be here in a church but simply going for a walk outdoors. The readings provide us the opportunity to find that place in our own lives that allows that space, that sacred space to grow so that our hearts don’t become hardened and we too may be open to the voice of God speak.