"Hey! Listen! I hear something!"

We are on grand kids' care duty these days while the parents are away on school business. One of our favorite outdoor activities during the summer is to patrol the neighborhood hot-spots with bicycles, scooters and for the littlest guy, on a hot wheels trike! We start out at a nearby church to cruise on the spacious paved parking lot. Then,  we walk down to a little watershed branch that runs between the church and several houses on our street only to find that it that was dry this mid-July morning, but we still threw our sticks into the crusty dirt trough where water once shed from the farm field across the way.

After this first phase of our "ritual ride," we like to move into the retirement  apartments next door to the church and to the center courtyard where an American flag flies proudly above its pole and flower-adorned base. It is here that we have recited the Pledge of Allegiance every time we have gathered in this place.This has been our patriotic practice since the kids began grade school. We take turns leading each other in repeating this oath. The kids love this and so do I! After the pledge we usually regroup in a shaded area before going across the street to check on the ducks and geese that find a year-long habitat in the neighborhood pond.
"What is that sound?"

During our brief respite this day, our soon-to-be kindergarten student, Charles William, said to each of us, "Hey! Listen! I hear something!" When I asked him what he was hearing, he said with childlike imagination, if not serious expectation, "I hear the ice-cream truck!" We all laughed! He was referencing one of those vending trucks that occasionally frequents our village streets in hopes of selling frozen treats to eager children on hot summer days.

All of us, and especially Charlie, were breaking out with a few beads of sweat after our riding to and fro, and it would have been a welcome sight to meet the "ice-cream man" once again as the temperature had already begun to climb. However, this hope would only be a mirage of our eager minds! In actuality, I looked just beyond where this expectant grandson was standing, and saw what had given him this idea. He was surrounded on both sides by melodic hanging chimes that decorated one of the senior living apartments in this complex. Yes, we were disappointed by our mutual misunderstanding of the true source of this airy melody. I'm sure it will not be the last time we get confused with reality!

How often have we heard something, but it wasn't what we thought at all? Jesus knew that we needed a Holy Spirit inspired filter in our spiritual inner ear that would guide us into all truth. He repeatedly said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (Matthew 11:15; Mark 4:9, 23) to the Disciples and others who would follow him just after a parable or hard saying. He was making the appeal to listen carefully and with understanding. In defense of our failure to pay close attention, too often we  reply, "I hear You, Lord!" But...do we?!

There is an old hymn that in the second stanza gives Christ followers a good daily prayer - "Open my ears that I may hear voices of truth Thou sendest clear; and while the wave notes fall on my ear, everything false will disappear" (Open My Eyes, Clara H. Scott). How's your hearing these days? Concerning that condition we commonly call "hard hearing," do you and I need to work a little harder on listening to what the Lord is saying to us?

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com


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