IGW3 – Lord, Open Our Ears – Mark 7:14-37

Sometimes, it’s hard to listen.

There is so much noise, all the time. But if we slow down, open our hearts, pray for guidance in the simplest of ways: something like “Lord, open my ears to what you want me to hear,” we can find amazing clarity.

It may be that your family member needs to reach you, a co-worker, your child – it may be that a total stranger has something to say to you that you can and need to hear.

But it is a very noisy and busy world and it is so easy to miss.

Most of all, God may be trying to reach out, love, console, guide, warn.

Are you listening?

Jesus provided healing in many ways. One way, described in today’s scripture passage, was one of the most basic of ways – he opened a deaf man’s ears.

I wonder what that moment was like. I would have love to see his face, tears of joy streaming down, when he first realized he could hear.

Spiritually speaking, Christ can still do that for us today. But – he won’t force it on us. We have to ask. We may have to wait. But, if we are patient, we will hear – maybe for the first time.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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