August 3, 2010

The Clatter of the Marketplace in Church?

I teach a Sunday school class composed of parents ranging from mid-thirties to mid-forties.

Yesterday, the Sunday school classrooms were being used for a homeless ministry the church supports, so most classes did not meet or gathered in the "donut room." My class found an empty table in the middle of the room. We began with prayer, as usual, and I attempted to present the lesson.

I noticed, however, that as time passed, two more classes gathered, one on either side of mine. These people were laughing and talking, drinking coffee or orange juice. As I was trying to teach above the noise, I became frustrated. Discussion in our group was difficult because of the competition from the other two tables.

"This is like trying to teach in the middle of the marketplace," I thought. "I bet Jesus sometimes had to teach under similar circumstances-- where people, completely oblivious to him, were busy purchasing items from merchants or talking to friends."

The class ended, but later I took a few moments to reflect further. I realized how difficult it can be for me to hear the truth amidst the noise of the "marketplace," however "marketplace" is defined.

I also thought how easy it is to become distracted from following the path of love and service. A favorite quote came to my mind that speaks to attentiveness: "Make time for the quiet moments, as God whispers and the world is loud."

God, it can be truly difficult to hear you amidst the noise of the marketplace in which we, your children, dwell. Help us be more attentive to you in our daily living. Amen.

Jacquie Reed, Fishers, In.

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