Do you know someone who is a person of action? Anytime a job needs to be done, they are the first one to volunteer. They move, organize, motivate, and build until the goal at hand is accomplished. They execute with dogged determination.
In the gospel this Sunday Peter demonstrates this kind of action. Jesus brings Peter, James, and John up on a mountain to pray. There Jesus is transformed and his clothes are made dazzlingly white. Two men appear and it’s clear, somehow, that they are Moses and Elijah. After it appears Jesus is done speaking them, Peter jumps into action. He cries out, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Peter jumped at the chance to start doing something. Peter wants to build something. Peter wants to leave his mark and he wants to start now.
Then a cloud overshadows the group and when it came to rest upon them a voice said, ”This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”
We don’t often think of listening as an action item. When we imagine people who take action and get things done, we rarely think of them as good listeners. Listening, in our our culture, seems to be thought of as simply a passive activity.
Our gospel this Sunday is trying to show us the first movement of any active response to God is to listen. The first thing we must do if we want to follow Jesus is, not to move, but to listen.
The cost of not listening first is that we may act or move in the wrong way. Peter seems to do this. In the gospel after he suggests making three tents the scriptures say, “But he did not know what he was saying.” That isn’t a good sign that he was on the right path. We know the rest of the story that Jesus had to come down off the mountain and head into Jerusalem to suffer and die for us.
If we want to follow Jesus, then we must do what the voice in the cloud suggests, we must listen to Jesus. The first step in any action plan must be to first sit still and listen.
Live It: We are a week into Lent. How is your Lenten promise doing? Whether you have given up something or added something, consider adding some silence into your day for the remaining days of Lent. Try just 5 minutes of silence every morning. Here is how to do it. Set a time on your phone for five minutes and then leave it across the room so you can’t reach it. Sit and listen for the Lord. If you get distracted, write down your distractions or say Jesus’ name over and over until the distraction passes. Honestly the more times you do the better it will go. Give silence a try this Lent in order to “listen to Him.”