Karl Barth’s theological address, God In Action, speaks of the church, “…the constitution and preservation of the Church rests in this, that man hears God. This is what makes it truly great and truly little.” Is this news to you? Perhaps not at first, however it is bizarre when we really think about it. Essentially, Barth is saying that two random people on the other side of the globe could be the church! Two un-ordained people congregated with listening ears and obedient hearts living out God’s mission.
As I grew up, countless times I failed to listen to my parents, just like everyone else. I found myself joining a selfish mission. This struggle may be the same for the Church today—sheep following voices other than their Good Shepherd’s. After all, there are many voices to hear. Where do we begin?
"Gather together and hear, O sons of Jacob; And listen to Israel your father.” (Gen. 49:2 NASB) Gather together and hear. That’s our command. The Bible is covered with God’s longing for his people to listen, and communication with him is what the we should ultimately want—the Church, the Ship of Salvation, avoiding shipwrecks because the captain is heard. Like a quiet course before a golfer swings, (both the Church and individually) we ought to focus in silence to truly hear our Father speak; the rest will follow.
Gathering together to hear God is that crucial, sometimes, we as the Church, completely skip over it. Man listening to God is a wacky ordeal. Isn’t it? Truly hearing God can be scary for you just as it is for can for your church. Yet given its mystery and challenge, there is no mission as glorious as our Father’s—our God moving and working in us and in spite of us.