St. John 12:20-33
During those years of working in Law Enforcement, I had answered many calls and taken many incident reports. For those incidents where there were witnesses it was always interesting, even challenging, to take witness statements.
Invariably there would be some difference in the witness statement as each would describe what they had observed. One person may say the suspect had short dark hair and the other witness might say the suspect had shoulder length light hair. Often the clothing description would vary from witness to witness.
Try this one. Think back to church this past Sunday. I hope you were in church! What happened during the service that caught your attention. (I hope something good happened at church.) Now, ask the person that was with you if they recall the same episode. Do they remember it the same way you did? Maybe not.
We all have our own take on things we observe or hear. The story in this weeks passage is no different. Starting with verse 27 here's what happened: 27 "Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‰Û÷Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name."
Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again."
29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him."
30 Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake."
Do you see how some said they heard thunder and others said it was Angels. Actually it was God the Father speaking and, as it is in today's world, some do not discern the voice of God.
When we look at the human makeup: our brain, vision, sensory, speech and smell, each of us are a bit different. Some have difficulty with observation skills while others have difficulty with focus. We commonly call it Attention Deficit Disorder which tends to be prevalent in our children. The children grow up to become adults but, some will continue to struggle to remain on task and that includes the ability to pay attention to their environment and what is going on.
This is a reason why many pastors will not preach longer than 15 or 20 minutes. They know their congregation and they can also see the response when they have lost the listener. I remember what a professor said to us in the preaching class one time: "Don't preach longer than the rear ends of people can tolerate." That is some good advice. I want people to focus on the message and I also know there is a window of opportunity for that to happen.
St. Augustine once said: "Great is the power of memory, a thing, O my God, to be in awe of, a profound and immeasurable multiplicity; and this thing is my mind, this thing am I."
Guard your mind with prayer and study of God's Word. During the remainder of Lent, schedule quiet time to just listen for the voice of God. Practice now and after Lent continue the practice.
Michael Layne, PhD, ThD, is the writer of A Positive Minute, Bishop of the Diocese of East Indiana Lutheran Orthodox Church, author and Pastoral Counselor. He can be reached at 812-662-5154 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org