Have you heard of the phenomenon of synchronicity? You may have experienced it yourself: for no apparent reason, you encounter an idea or concept, and then it seems as if you are "seeing" it everywhere. That has happened to me recently around the idea of listening to the voices we have been hearing, both inside our congregation and out in our community. It began when Steve returned from his sabbatical, and mentioned that he has been understanding Ravensworth in a new way: as a place where voices can be heard-voices that often aren't given a hearing in other settings. As we began to plan for our Lenten programs, we decided to incorporate that idea, and settled on the theme "Voices from Our Journeys" as a way of tying it all together. During Lent, we will have opportunities to hear from those within and outside of our congregation, who have stories to tell us that we might not otherwise hear.
The significance of listening leapt out at me again, in a post that Ben Wilkins shared on our Ravensworth Facebook page. It was about a Baptist Church in Chattanooga that took the time to really listen to their community, and found a need they could meet in the form of a Shower Ministry! You have to know that this item definitely caught my eye, given the history of RBC rigging a shower in the Baptistery while hosting travelers for the Poor People's Campaign on Washington (1968). It seems the Young Adults of the Tennessee church guided the congregation into offering weekly showers to the homeless in their community. (Click here for the entire article). If you read all the way to the end, you will note the pastor's wisdom: he does not encourage churches to start their own Shower Ministry; but he does state that "...congregations can find ways to be a positive influence on their community, and maybe the best way is having contact and listening."
As we enter into the season of Lent, may we come into it with hearts open to listening: to each other, to the voices we will encounter, and to The Voice we long to hear, in and through all that we experience. As that Voice beckons, we will continue to discern what it means for us to follow.