~ A Conversation with Brian Rogers ~
When I was a little boy growing up in Brooklyn, it was easy to accept everyone. In the simple mind of a child, you either liked someone or you didn’t…no matter what their ethnicity. They were your friends…or not…not your “black friend” or your “Jewish friend”. And my mom and dad set the example. Then we moved to the suburbs and I went to schools in neighborhoods that were sheltered from reality…sort of like Winchester…and to a Catholic all-male high school and all-male college (that explains a lot!)…not much diversity there. We did our share of praying…talking “to” Jesus.
In 1967, I was at Columbia University in the Morningside section of Manhattan. In April, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous anti-Viet Nam speech at the nearby Riverside Church. In 1967, the overwhelming “non-student” majority of the country still supported the war and King was taking an unpopular stance. He was talking to everyone at the church and to the government…and to my friends and to me and, for the first time, I was talking “with” Jesus…actually listening to Him talking to me instead of me doing all the talking. Two weeks later we were protesting the war in NY City and 6 months later in Washington…and, still at it two years later in Boston and Washington. Jesus, through King, finally got into my head and my heart and told me to get off my butt and act. It only happened because listening replaced talking. Jesus became my prayer partner instead of some invisible being who is there to grant my every wish.
God speaks to us in many ways… through other people like MLK and those close to us…through something you hear or something you read…through music…and, my favorite, through nature…God’s creation. It is still just as difficult as it always was to listen. Years ago I read “The Joy of Listening to God” and have to pull it out of mothballs often to reconnect with my prayer partner. Quiet is essential. I can’t hear unless I am listening and I can’t listen unless I am silent. And, I find that God gave us the wonders of nature just so we can find that quiet, that silence. If you have a spare two minutes, try this video…or better yet…go outside and take in the wonders of nature God has given us.
Psalm 145:5 : “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. “