Pastor Shawn Hannon
Hope Lutheran Church Arcade, NY
My daughter, Quinn, recently finished her first year of big kid school. She was a UPK in Fillmore, and she loved every minute of it and did great. But we did receive a note home one day this year that every parent dreads. It started with the words… Quinn is having a hard time listening.
My first thought after seeing the note was, “Oh, I don’t think so. Quinn!” But before I could even sit her down to have a talk with her about respect, and listening to grown-ups, Carol informed me the situation was not what I guessed. You see, it wasn’t simply her ability to listen they were worried about, but her ability to hear. Her teachers were shouting her name, yet Quinn remained un-phased. They took her to the nurse’s office and tested her hearing with a series of beeps. To our relief, there is nothing out of the ordinary. She simply has what some people call Allergy Ears. It clogs her ears a little bit and affects her ability to hear especially during peek allergy seasons.
I told Carol she must have gotten it from me, and that I must have allergy ears too. Why else would I have such a hard time listening to her sometimes. She didn’t think that was very funny, and when it comes to hearing, I suppose it’s not.
We know hearing is important. It’s one of the ways we interpret the world around us, and although sight is catching up to it these days, hearing is the most important way we are taught and we learn. Perhaps that’s also why so many of Jesus’ examples were concluded with a similar phrase: Let those who have ears, listen.
One of those stories is about a sower. It’s an example of a man who sows his seed on rocks and paths and thorns and soil. Obviously some of the seed did better than others. You can check the full story out in Matthew 13, but I’m going to cut to the chase. For the longest time I thought that was a story about how different types of people. I was wrong. I’m now convinced it’s about how people are capable of hearing in different ways. The point isn’t whether or not we’re good soil. The point is how we should all always strive to be good soil, and do you know what good soil does? It’s hears, and listens.
Generally speaking, soil is what it is. Hard and full of clay. Rich and full of nutrients. Rocky and shallow, or beaten down to a path. That’s what it is, and it’s awfully hard to change. But the good news for us is that we aren’t soil. We can change. And what Jesus does is invite us to position our lives to resemble good soil for the gospel to take root. To not be like those people whose eyes are shut and ears are hard of hearing. But instead to try to comprehend the good news… to stick with it and let it take deep roots in our lives… to weed out the things that would choke our faith out before the weeds are all that’s left… and to make our lives good soil for God’s healing grace. Amen.
For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.