Submitted by Pastor David Klappenbach, First Lutheran Church, Rock Port

I came across this the other day. It came from a music teacher directing her choir students to “Listen louder than you sing.”
I am no expert in music and my singing voice is not the greatest, but that statement struck a chord with me. When I find myself singing in choir, a congregation, or group of singers I find myself listening to singers around me. So I sing, not to be louder than the others, but to blend in with the group. In a choir it is the combination of voices working and blending together that makes beautiful music.
“Oh, Worship the King, all glorious above. Oh, gratefully sing His pow’r and His love.” As the community of faith gathers for worship, they tend to God’s Word, sing His praises with “psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, singing and making melody with all your heart.” (Ephesians 5:19). To share our joys, concerns and mutual woes with one another, we need to listen all the more.
We have a problem listening. I suppose it goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. “Did God really say…” In this politically charged and divided nation we have a hard time listening to one another. TV news commentators talk right past each other on the pressing issues of the day. Scanning through the news feed on a social media page folks post opinions, isolated comments that have little relevance to what is best for us as a people. Responses attack the character of the original poster. You can’t listen if you trying to formulate what you are going to say.
In the midst of this noise culture God’s voice rings out into conscience saying, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Then all the noise, the whispering, the clanging and the chorus of alluring demons are hushed. Only then can you discern that God is indeed in control and is ruler over the heavens and the earth.
To know Jesus as savior and our hope for the eternal is to listen to Him. The voice of God the Father came from the cloud on the Mount of Transfiguration to the disciples who were with Jesus, whose face shone like the sun saying, “This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased, Listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5). To listen to Jesus is to humble yourself to receive His Word of life in the reading and preaching of His Word. Listening in conversation with the brothers and sisters in faith for encouragement and the building up of the community of faith in our most holy faith is to humble yourself. Listen louder than you sing as we offer our praise to the King whose Good Tidings will “Keep us from stumbling and present us blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy” (Jude 1:24).