Teach me to listen, Lord.

Teach me to pray, Lord.

Teach me to learn, Lord.

Teach me to help others, Lord.

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They read aloud from the scroll, the Instruction from God, explaining and interpreting it so the people could understand what they heard.

Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all of the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Don’t mourn or weep.” They said this because all the people wept when they heard the words of the Instruction.

“Go, eat rich food, and drink something sweet,” he said to them, “and send portions of this to any who have nothing ready! This day is holy to our Lord. Don’t be sad, because the joy from the Lord is your strength!”

Nehemiah 8:8-10

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About a year ago, I had an experience as I read scripture. I realized for the first time the meaning of a difficult experience in my life. Though I’d felt so alone for so long, the scripture reminded me that I was loved very much by my Creator. It was an experience I felt in my heart and got in my head. I sat for a long time in the chair with my Bible open and wept.

But the thing was, I wasn’t sad. I was thankful. So thankful that all I knew how to do was cry tears of joy.

The same was true of the experience of the people gathered in Jerusalem. They understood God’s word for them and all they could do was weep! Not that their crying was bad, but Nehemiah asked them to move from this emotion to an expression of joy. Together in community they would feast, thanking God for all they’d learned.

Elizabeth Evans Hagan

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Lord, help me not to be afraid of the emotions an experience of you brings. Teach me to cry when I need to cry, laugh when I need to laugh, and rejoice with my friends when I know your presence has been among us! Amen.

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God’s grace and peace offers us many opportunities to learn and serve.

As you go, be open to the Spirit!

Elizabeth Evans Hagan

Rev. Elizabeth Evans Hagan is an interim pastor serving churches in short-term positions in the Washington, DC area. She loves blogging over at Preacher on the Plaza, cheering on her alma mater, Duke, in basketball, and collecting airline miles with her husband Kevin. She is proud to have been the first pastor of Passportkids! in 2004.

Teach Me to Stop and Listen

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