come and listen

:: Come and Listen

:: John 1:1-18

This selection from the first chapter of John is probably one of my favorite passages of scripture. It’s so rich and full of depth…more depth than I can pretend to understand. I’ll try to offer you a little perspective, but please know that so much more is to be discovered in this passage. If my take on it helps…that’s great, but either way I would invite you to take some time to let this passage sink in and speak uniquely and personally to your heart as it has to mine.

Read through and meditate on John 1:1-18, then read this passage from Thomas Merton’s essay, “The Time of No Room,”

“We live in the time of no room, which is the time of the end. The time when everyone is obsessed with lack of time, lack of space, with saving time, conquering space… We are numbered in billions, and massed together, marshalled, numbered, marched here and there, taxed, drilled, armed, worked to the point of insensibility, dazed by information, drugged by entertainment, surfeited with everything, nauseated with the human race and with ourselves, nauseated with life.”

In his essay, Merton speaks of the birth of Christ in a manger, a feeding trough out back in the barn, because there was “no room in the inn.” As the Roman world was gathered together for a census, as the crowds amassed, there was no space for the Son of God to enter. Who is there to welcome the Savior of the world? No one…except for the shepherds at watch in their fields, away from all the action of the busy Roman world. Merton continues:

“The time of the end is the time of the Crowd: and the eschatological (the study of the end times) message is spoken in a world where, precisely because of the vast indefinite roar of armies on the move and the restlessness of turbulent mobs, the message can be heard only with difficulty…Hence the Great Joy is announced, after all, in silence, loneliness and darkness, to shepherds “living in the fields” or “living in the countryside” and apparently unmoved by the rumors or massed crowds.”

We live in a noisy world. Amidst the deafening roar, Jesus, the very Word of God, speaks in a whisper (Mt 10:27). My question for you today: Can you hear Him? Or has all the noise of life drowned out His voice? I challenge you during this time of Advent, today even, to make room for Christ. Find time to be silent before the Word, to be still and know (Ps 46). His peace, his grace, his joy is a gift to us, one that must be received, not taken or earned. How can we receive if there is no room? The Word of God is love, a love so big that we can’t imagine its dimensions. It will fill us to overflowing…if it could only enter in. I urge you to seek the places of silence in this loud and boisterous world, not as a way to escape – for we have no reason to escape, the Word has come to us victoriously, it has overcome the world – but rather as a way of being refreshed, renewed in the Spirit, reborn as a new creation, as children of God, so that we might face the world of uncertainty, doubt, and fear with hearts full of the love that is the only true life. The world has not known him, because they have never heard…it’s simply too loud. Just be quiet…come and listen.

“The Time of No Room” by Thomas Merton


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