Written by Gary Taylor
When I made my grand entrance into the world, my ears were sticking out, folded forward. I suppose it was because I positioned myself in the womb in such a way that the cartilage grew funny. To remedy this unfortunate predicament, my parents taped my ears back for a week or so. Really. Some people have bad hair days; I was born with bad ear days.
And I was bald. My ears stuck out, and I was bald. Picture a VW Beetle with the doors open.
It was a rough start for me. I eventually grew some hair, and - thanks to yards of Scotch tape - my ears now lay a little flatter against the sides of my skull. All these years later I don't have the most aerodynamic head, but the ears are closer to where they belong.
In Revelation 2 and 3, a certain phrase is repeated near the conclusion of each letter to the seven churches: "Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
Jesus was saying, "Listen up! I'm calling attention to the particular, significant way your life needs to change."
Because it's such a funny story, I've often told people about my parents taping my ears to my head. And most every time the person pauses to look at my ears, and then comments, "It doesn't look like your ears stick out to me." To which I say, "Correct. BECAUSE MY PARENTS TAPED THEM TO MY HEAD WHEN I WAS A BABY."
I was born with something that needed to change - ears whose natural bent was in the wrong direction. So the problem was addressed, in this case, with tape.
We are all born with a natural-yet-ugly bent towards sin. Each of us. As you know, it takes more than tape to redirect our wayward bent towards sin. Throughout our life, Jesus calls out to us - each of us with ears to hear - calling us to repentance.
Earlier this week I was listening to someone share their story. She didn't give the gory details, but did divulge the ugly, wayward bent of her life back in her teenage years. I was completely surprised to learn that about her. In fact, my comment was, "I would have never guessed that about you." I may as well have said, "It doesn't look like your ears stick out."
And this person responded in her own way of saying, "Correct! The change in my life is because of what my Father has done for me."
She acknowledges that those changes took more than yards of tape. She had ears that heard Jesus calling her to obedience and new ways of living. And to this day, she acknowledges her daily need for the stretched-out arms of Jesus - forgiving arms stretched out on a cross, loving arms stretched towards her for companionship.
This Sunday we look at two more examples of Jesus saying, "Anyone who has ears to hear..." Metaphorically, maybe your ears stick out, or you've got a friend who has ears that stick out. Invite them to come to our church - a gathering of people -acknowledging that we have sins that still stick out, but Jesus offers life-change through repentance.
I hope to see you at 9 or 11. And if you own a VW Beetle, think of me when you open the doors.