faithful shepherd of your Father’s sheep:
teach us to hear your voice
and to follow your command,
that all your people may be gathered into one flock,
to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
17 Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds. 18They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart. 19They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practise every kind of impurity. 20That is not the way you learned Christ! 21For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. 22You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, 23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbours, for we are members of one another. 26Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and do not make room for the devil. 28Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labour and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. 29Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
from psalm 115
Not to us, Lord, not to us,
but to your name give the glory,
for the sake of your loving mercy and truth.
(what an important verse!)
Why should the nations say,
‘Where is now their God?’
As for our God, he is in heaven;
he does whatever he pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but cannot speak;
eyes have they, but cannot see;
They have ears, but cannot hear;
noses have they, but cannot smell;
They have hands, but cannot feel;
feet have they, but cannot walk;
not a whisper do they make from their throats.
The Old Testament celebrates their God, ‘who speaks’.
The unavoidable conclusion is that his people ‘listen’!
…more easily said than done.