“The Gift of Hearing”
By Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell
Retired United Methodist Minister
Camden, New Jersey
“...the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native tongues of each.” Acts 2:6
What are the many things we say about hearing? Some say we hear what we want to hear. Some say that we have so adjusted our hearing that we can only hear those like ourselves. The song asks the question, “How many ears must a man have, before he can hear people cry?”
One of the major miracles of Pentecost was in the hearing … Persons “heard” others in ways that they had not heard them before. God implanted within them a new kind of hearing aid that blotted out the noise of linguistic arrogance, which made them hear voices they had not listened to in the past.
So it must be as we “hear” the voices of our same-gender loving brothers and sisters as they want to have the right to publicly commit themselves to the one whom they love. How strange it is that those who declare, “God is love”. Who say with such fervor that the love of God is revealed in Jesus Christ, yet would invalidate some whose love for each other is as God-like as the love of any of us.
In that wonderful stage drama called “The Slave Narratives”, one of the characters says of the slave masters; “They used the Bible like a stick against us”. They were speaking of the constant use by slave masters of the biblical passage, “Slaves be obedient to your masters” Those words of Scripture were used in an effort to force the slaves to be submissive to the acts of dehumanization that accompanied slavery. Praise God, my slave ancestors did not submit!
How strange it is that some who are the modern day “Son and daughters” of slaves have the audacity to use the Blible “like a stick” against same gender loving persons. They claim to be “standing on the Word”. During slavery there were those also who claimed to be “standing on the Word” as they owned slaves. Do my colleagues understand that their modern day desecration of sacred writ to deny and supress the humanity and rights of gay men and women, is much like those did the same to black folk.
A friend this week sent me this that I paraphrase: The Bible has a few verses condemning some homosexuality activity, it has many, many verses condemning some heterosexual activity. This means that heterosexuals need far more discipline than do homosexuals!
May the Pentecostal experience of 2006 affect our hearing, as well as, our speaking. Amazing things happen to us and others when we allow God to give us the “Gift of Hearing”.