During Jesus’ transfiguration, Peter voices an idea. I imagine it sounded something like this: “Look, we need to start a building project immediately. I’m not just talking about one structure—we need three! And we need all hands on deck. Are you with me? Are you in?”
I understand Peter because I love being busy. I’m happiest when I’m multitasking. When a project needs completing, we value those gifted in the art of juggling. But in this story, God doesn’t want the disciples to start a project. God wants their undivided attention.
God wants our undivided attention also.
When I think about being attentive to God, these words of Thomas Merton come to mind: “Uncrowd my heart, O God, until silence speaks in your still small voice….”
I’m familiar with a crowded heart and a cluttered mind. Both keep me from listening to and hearing God’s still small voice. Practicing stillness puts us in a better position to listen. In order to hear a whisper, silence is essential.
During the clarion call of the transfiguration, God the Father speaks directly to Peter, John, and James, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” (v. 35). After hearing the voice from heaven, we assume the disciples get the message because they kept silent (v. 36).
Springing into action before we take the time to listen and discern the still small voice of God is an easy trap for Jesus’ followers of every era to fall into. We who love the Lord desperately want to do something for Christ and his Kingdom. Luke reminds us that listening is the first step. Busy people who follow Jesus learn the value of keeping silent and practicing stillness.
What makes your heart crowded? What keeps you from hearing Christ’s call upon your life?
God, help me make my heart less crowded and my mind less cluttered so that I may hear Christ call me to be present with him and listen. Amen.