Jesus says in John’s gospel, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me” but, we must admit that we hear a lot of voices in our day to day life. Voices telling us what we need, what we should buy, and even how we should think. In that great cacophony, how do we recognise Jesus’ voice over the noise of our world? I want to hear the truth over and above what others may want me to believe. But, it often feels so hard to pick out what God is saying to me over the noise of the voices of this world. So to overcome this challenge to the benefit of each and everyone of us, God himself came down, in Jesus Christ, God among us, God incarnate to lead us. Because came down in Jesus to speak to us, Jesus never had to say, “do as I say, not as I do”, all he had to say was, “follow me.”
“My sheep hear my voice.”
I believe that the more time we spend listening to the voice of Jesus in the bible and in prayer, the better we are able to hear him when he speaks to us in our daily journeys and the more the voice of the Great Shepherd becomes the familiar voice.
There is a simple thing that each of us can do to improve our ability to “hear” the voice of Jesus. Read your bible.
I was visiting with someone this week and they told me about receiving one of those free red covered New Testaments from the Gideons at the school they worked at and how they had actually read it through. Their story reinforced the direction of my sermon this week which to encourage us to get out our bibles and read them. If you are struggling with the text of your old King James version, get a newer translation bible, there are plenty of versions to meet your own approach. If you want some direction to help guide your bible reading, our service books the Book of Common Prayer or the Book of Alternative Services, both have a section of suggested daily readings. At St. George’s we also make available a subscription to a little book called “Day by Day” which includes a daily reflection with suggested scripture passages. If you want to participate in a more interactive way, on Tuesday afternoons and evenings we have a Bible Study and Thursday night a Faith Study group. There are are also other short term Christian education opportunities both at St. George’s and at other churches in town. All these things can be a way to help us to hear more clearly the voice of God, over the voices that distract us from God’s call to follow Christ.
Jesus said in John’s gospel, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me” So, where to, Jesus? To where are we following you? Well, if we are using the Shepherd imagery then the 23rd Psalm tells us where to and past what along the way. We are led to green pastures, and beside still waters, and on right paths. These are places where we are presented with abundance and with God’s blessing and protection and where we walk without want or fear. These are indeed desirable things, yet the Psalmist also acknowledges that when we follow our great Shepherd, it is not without the presence of danger to our life or our soul. In fact our path will take us through darkness and death, and past evil and enemy. This great poem and prayer captures so eloquently the nature of our relationship of trust in God and its central place in the journey of our life. So where is Jesus leading us? He leads us through our life to a destination that brings us into a centered and unbroken fellowship with God and with all God’s children.
Let us pray,
Almighty God, whose raised from the dead the great shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ, guard us from the voices that deceive us, and open our ears to your saving word, that we may be guided by your truth and live in your light, in Christ name we pray. Amen.