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Are We Being Heard?


The expression wore pretty thin if you ask me. We heard it too many times. We heard it from the actor hired to say it. And then we heard it over and over again from others mimicking him. Sure, it's important to be heard when you have something to say. And it can be frustrating when we're not sure that others are listening.

"Can you hear me now?" is, of course, the tired expression. Sometimes we may wonder if anyone hears us at all at any time and not just when we are on a cell phone call. We are a people inundated with words. How much attention can we give to them all? Even among the closest of friends or family members, we are prone to ramble on telling a story we've already told. Can we fault others for tuning out or putting up a hand in protest? And how often do we find ourselves on the phone or behind a counter attempting to get an issue resolved but feeling like we are talking to a wall? We may rightfully question whether we are being heard and heeded or not.

But beyond such somewhat small issues among us as individuals, we might also wonder about collective voices raising very large issues on a community or national or global level. Were the students in Parkland, Florida heard? Have the voices of native peoples been heard? Will the outcry of a country under violent attack be heard? Has Greta gotten through to anyone? Who is listening to pleas for justice, cries for daily bread, calls for mental health services, summons for safe places for victims of abuse, prayers for shelter in the darkness of the night?

What do we do when nothing seems to change despite our diligent efforts to lobby the "powers that be"? Do we run for public office? Seek to increase our ranks? Throw up our hands in frustrated resignation? Move to a different location where we hope things might be better? Adjust our expectations and tame our passion? Or do we hold out hope that our words will be heard and just might have an impact?

For those of us who believe in a God, a Higher Power, we long all the more that our voices be heard. We have been promised that our prayers will be heard and that a response may be anticipated. In the Hebrews Scriptures, God was known as "the God who hears." Has God grown weary of listening to our grumbling, complaining, griping, and whining? Or do we need to figure out a way to ramp up our prayers and amplify our voices? In writing about the Lord's Prayer, Theodore W. Jennings says, "Abraham bargained with God to spare a town for the sake of a few righteous people. Jesus teaches his disciples to place a far greater claim upon God - that God save the world - for his own sake. It is an astonishing prayer, and it is even more astonishing that we often repeat it as absent-mindedly as if we were asking the grocer for a box of crackers."

Maybe part of the issue in not feeling that we are being heard is that we aren't saying much worthy of attention. Perhaps another part is not fully understanding to whom we are talking.

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