Look around you… How many people are in the process of
doing something - starting a project, completing normal everyday tasks, planning
to do something later, etc? WE are busy people, with things to do,
places to go, schedules to meet. We are ‘do-ers’!
Today’s first reading from James calls us to action: “Be doers of the word
and not hearers only…” (Jas. 1:22) James’s continues this idea and
ends with a reminder that to be religious, we must “…care for orphans and
widows in their affliction, and keep oneself unstained by the world.”
The psalm response picks up on the theme of doing, reminding us that those
who walk blamelessly and do justice shall live in God. Even Mark’s
gospel seems to be in the ‘doing’ mode when Jesus heals the blind man.
These readings resonate with our way of being in the modern world. Our ‘being’
translates into “do-ers.” In fact, sometimes, NOT doing something feels
‘not quite right’…; we may even feel guilty if we have time to relax and
slow down. So, are we in tune with today’s scripture - to go into action
is the Christian call?
Perhaps ‘yes’, but perhaps ‘no’ also. There seems to more in the message
of today’s readings…
James prefaces his ‘action call’ with “…be quick to hear, slow to speak,
…humbly (respectfully/reverently) welcome the word that has been planted
in you.” (Jas.1:19-21) And at the end of today’s Gospel, Jesus tells
the cured blind man to simply go home and to not even go into the village.
(I can’t imagine simply going home quietly if I had suddenly been able to
see after so many years of blindness!)
Though I believe that we are called to action as Christians, it is only after
we have not only heard God’s word, but listened to what God is trying to
tell us. It is necessary to ‘take time out’ from our doings.
Prayer and quiet reflection is vital in order to ponder the meaning of what
God is calling us to do and to listen to the Spirit’s promptings to action
I recently experienced a wonderful understanding of this dynamic between
‘listening, reflecting, and doing’ for our 2004 Women of Spirit Conference
XIX: “Sacred Weaving – A Day of Hope, Prayer and Discovery with Muslim,
Jewish and Christian Women.” (Annually, this has been a day of spiritual
enrichment for 250+ women in the Christian tradition.) As is our practice,
the planning board meets monthly throughout the year to prepare for the following
January’s conference. This past year we invited Jewish and Muslim women
to our planning. We spent time getting to know each other, telling
our stories and listening to one another’s understanding of faith tradition,
spirituality and living faithfully in today’s modern world. We soon
realized the need to continue in our listening mode for many more months,
using the time in between our meetings to reflect and to contemplate what
we were sharing, learning and questioning. It was only after
multiple meetings (which grew from monthly to bi-weekly) of reflecting alone
and together that we were actually ready to begin planning the conference
of shared prayers, speakers, panels, and workshops. Admittedly, there
were times when some wondered if we would ever begin the actual ‘doing’ (planning)
of the conference. However, if we had not spent those many months and
time in the listening and reflecting mode, we could not have been ready or
able to plan the ‘doing’ of our conference.
Today’s readings offer a challenging dynamic for making God real in our midst.
Yes, I can be a do-er of the word of God, but only after I not only hear,
but listen within my heart, taking ‘time out’ and ‘being’ with my God to
really discover what the Spirit is calling me to do and be.