Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 12; 146, Zechariah 11:4-17, 1 Corinthians 3:10-23, Luke 18:31-43
The Washington Post, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications have written about how the voices of women in the workplace are not heard as strongly as men’s. There are multiple cultural reasons for this, and possibly a few biological ones. When women attempt to compensate, they are often labeled “bossy”, “shrill”, or worse. In environments where men (and sometimes other women) don’t or won’t recognize this phenomenon, women are caught in a no-win scenario of being ignored or being dismissed.
We dismiss a lot of people. As Jesus passed Jericho, a blind beggar on the roadside asked what the commotion was about. When he heard it was Jesus, the beggar called out, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those in front scolded him, but he persisted. Eventually Jesus stopped and ordered the crowd to bring the man over. He asked Jesus to restore his sight, and of course Jesus healed him. Then began to follow Jesus and glorify God, and the crowd praised God also.
Jesus wasn’t concerned that the beggar approach him the “right” way. If he hadn’t shouted and annoyed people, he wouldn’t have been heard at all. His blindness and his poverty were greater issues than whether the people around him were comfortable with how he cried for justice. Except for Jesus, not one person in the crowd was noted to express concern with his situation, but they sure spoke up when his attempt to do something about it inconvenienced them. The majority attempting to silence the minority – or the one – has always been an impediment to justice.
How do we silence people today? How often do we insist they need to be polite more than they deserve justice? We comfortably ignore them as long as they remain quiet in the back of the crowd, shush them when they don’t, then dismiss them as inappropriate and undeserving when they do what they must to be heard. Jesus never said “be polite” or “don’t make anyone uncomfortable.” If someone needs to shout to be heard, it’s time to ask why we didn’t notice them before.
Comfort: Everyone’s voice deserves to be heard.
Challenge: Pay attention to any tendencies you may have to dismiss a message or concern because you don’t like how attention is brought to it.
Prayer: Lord of Peace, teach us to listen to one another in love. Amen.
Discussion: When have you felt like you weren’t heard? Or when have you failed to hear someone else?
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