“I will open my mouth in parables;
I will utter what has been hidden since
the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 13:35)
The walk to Pierson’s Silent Study Break was a uneventful occurrence (to the unseeing onlooker). Another slightly brisk February evening, another student walking to a destination, another end to another normal day. Yet, all at once, nothing was normal. The way the wind shifted the leaves, like a gentle blow of soft pursed lips, captivated me. The hushed giggles shared over comfy couches and stillness was poetic. Cleo, the Pierson dog, drew me in with eyes that see and feel so deeply (even though she can not see at all).
Throughout Matthew, Jesus speaks in parable to the crowds, a choice that piques the curiosity of his disciples. When the disciples inquire about Jesus’s use of parable, he comments that it is “because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand… But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear” (Matthew 13:13,16).
This made me wonder how I can see, hear, and understand the way the disciples do naturally and the crowds learn to do through Jesus’s teachings. How can I take His perfect message and see it live out in the world around me? How can I embody this same message and bring it to the world? Perhaps it is all a parable.
Notice the sheer beauty that the surrounds you every moment of your life. Nothing is monotonous or dull when one takes the time to truly see. Small leaves blowing in the gentle wind remind us to be mindful of the little things. A shy smile is the beginning of the promise of friendship. “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? … But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which today is alive and tomorrow it thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:26-30). We are meant to see, to reflect, and to learn from all that exists on earth as a parable for what awaits in his Kingdom.
Just as was explored in “Silence and Sound: A Thought”, a unique and enigmatic music flows through the world that only those who stop and enjoy the silence can hear. Hearing can entail the dance of conversation, the urge of one’s heart toward goodness, or even the peace of profound silence. Yet, it should be noted, that hearing is never passive. Just as one should not solely listen in conversation without offering opinions or insightful interjections, one can not assume that just listening to The Word of God without acting is truly hearing the way Jesus intended the crowds to. Hearing requires us to seek: for the truth, for an answer, or for the pleasure of learning.
To understand means to perceive the purposeful meaning of words and apply this meaning into a greater, personal context. This “Thought” is a manifestation of understanding the Bible in a way that applies to this moment, this experience, this life. As one grows in his or her relationship with God, one is able to begin to grasp the infinite beauty He promises. The parables reveal themselves as we see, hear, and understand.
What a fitting end to this Silent Study Break.
–Valentina Guerrero, PC’ 19