Matthew 17:5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8 And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
I hear God in a few of places. In worship, in yoga class, in music, and in the clouds. Not the big booming voice of God that Matthew describes in today’s gospel, but from inside out – a nudge, a thought, a feeling. And when I do – hear with my heart – I am not afraid, as Jesus assures Peter, James, and John.
This morning as I was reading, I was listening to this piece by French pianist Andre Gagnon titled “Like the First Day.” The combination of the music, God’s word and the image of the clouds of witnesses – well that trinity of sensations, if you will, moved me to tears and even made my heart ache just a little. Such a beautiful thing – the power of feeling, of knowing God’s presence with the heart. I thought of the folks in Paris – wondered how – if – they felt God’s presence in the midst of the anger, chaos, slaughter. Heart-ache. It is a feeling, not a thought.
Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. brain scientist and stroke survivor (My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientists’s Personal Journey) says that our brains reveal human beings are feeling creatures who think, not thinking creatures who feel, as most moderns assert. Feelings have gotten a bad rap – discounted as reptilian – in the rational, information, scientific observation age in which we live.
Feeling creatures who think. Think about that.
So many of God’s people in therapy sessions, in how-to classes, climbing ladders, explaining this, researching that, spending so much time in the head, trying to think themselves through life and into a feeling – a feeling of happiness, success, a good life.
True, we can’t live out of only our feelings. What a mess that life would be. But, identifying the places you hear God, where you are moved, where you feel God’s presence, where something on the outside speaks to you from the inside – well that is a good place to start any day.
How do you hear God?
Lectionary Readings: AM Psalm 89:1-18; PM Psalm 89:19-52
1 Macc. 3:1-24; Rev. 20:7-15; Matt. 17:1-13