Pastor Peter Hébert








Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; God will keep you on track.

(Proverbs 3:5-6)

Listening, it seems simple, open your ears and listen. However, if it were so easy, there would not be so many books written on how to listen. The problem between people is that the meaning of words are nuanced and informed by each person’s individual experience, and when we hear someone else say something, the meaning of what that person said has passed through their own filter, into our ears, and then through the filter of our own life experiences and beliefs. With most important topics, we can add the intensity of emotions, often tied to assumptions, that we each bring to a conversation and before you know it, we have the recipe for great misunderstandings.


Listening to God creates its own set of problems. For starters, we have a document that was inspired by the Holy Spirit, written by humans, who have filtered these words through the context of their own experience; often giving a specific meaning to the text which has been lost and changed over the course of history. We then continue to have to interpret what it is we read, hearing God’s voice intimately connected to our own. It is one reason some people feel they have a conduit to God without an intermediary. The problem has expressed itself in various ways as religious people have used the “voice of God” for nefarious ends.


So, what is one to do? How can we hear and know what God is calling us as individuals, or even as a congregation? One way to start is to still voices in our heads and in the stillness, open our hearts to just be in God’s presence. By letting the absence of words fill out the meaning of The Word, letting the silence clear our preconceived notions about who God is and to experience God as the fully “Other” in our existence. The name God utters for Godself, is “I Am.” It is a name that is punctuated by the silence of our response. Suddenly, we might discover that just as the most important part of any music is the rest mark and that the bank space is what gives meaning to a painting, so too the silence marks the place we may find God and God’s will in our lives. Through the silence God’s Word leaves the page, incarnating itself through the Holy Spirit in our very being.


Starting the last week of July and running through the end of August, I invite you to spend some extra time in reflection and silence as we take a congregational “retreat.” It is a 4-week period during which we will spend with a singular Gospel text, John 4, the Samaritan Woman at the Well. Each week, we invite you to enter a sacred space to meditate on a particular aspect of the Gospel. Take time to encounter Christ in the moment, to slow down the pace of life and savor all that our savior has graciously given to us.

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