Thought For The Week - 02-05-23
The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Sometimes, when I sit down to write to you all, it’s hard to know where to start. The things that are filling my headspace might not be the same as the things filling yours, and I want to make sure that whatever you are reading is worth your precious time. If I’m struggling to find my opening words, I tend to look at the readings in the Church of England lectionary for that week to see if I can get any inspiration.
This week, I found these excerpts from the readings for Sunday 30th April:
At that time I will deal
with all who oppressed you.
I will rescue the lame;
I will gather the exiles.
Zephaniah 3.19 (Old Testament)
The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off…
Acts 2.39 (New Testament)
The Gospel passage for this week is Luke 24.13-35 – the story of two disciples meeting Jesus on the road to Emmaus after his death and resurrection.
As I reflected on these three texts, I noticed that they are all connected by a common thread: every voice matters. Zephaniah writes of God noticing and responding to injustice: hearing, in particular, the voices of those who are most vulnerable. Peter, in the book of Acts, assures his listeners that everyone is included in God’s family – every voice is important to Him. And Jesus, walking on the road to Emmaus, listens before he speaks. He gives his companions the time to share their story and their feelings before he responds. Just as he had done during his ministry, he allows everyone a voice and honours each of those who speaks, even when he may disagree with them quite fundamentally.
As a teacher, I remember watching the pupils in my classroom jumping up and down in their seats, hands waving in the air, waiting their turn to speak. I felt instinctively that many of them were not really listening to their peers but simply wanting their own voice to be heard. We spent a lot of time and energy on developing active listening skills!
I have to remind myself of this sometimes in my work today: the need to pause the voice in my head that is running through the never-ending list of jobs to be done and take the time to honour the person in front of me by really properly listening to what they have to say. It is in these moments that I often find the unexpected grace of a story shared or a question asked.
I have been following the American poet, Joseph Fasano, on Twitter (@Joseph_Fasano). He has been sharing his own examples of what happens when we listen with care, especially when this empowers the voices of those who feel voiceless. I thought you might like to see one and perhaps even have a go at the poetry prompt yourself!
As ever, we are here to listen if you ever need someone to speak to – just drop us an email, pick up the phone and I promise, we will honour you by listening with care.
from Gillian Georgiou, RE & SIAMS Advisor