The current sermon series at my church is called Hearing God Speak. So far, we've learned about hearing God through the Holy Spirit within us, through the creation and through circumstances. This week, we learned about hearing God speak through others. This comes out of the idea that we grow, in part, through being part of a community of believers, and often it is others in that community who teach and encourage us.
The "homework" was to consider who in my life, past or present, for a short time or a long while, served as an encouragement in my faith. The first person who came to mind was my favorite high school teacher, Mr. Freiberg. (Any readers of this blog who also had this teacher may well roll their eyes!!)
Mr. Freiberg taught science, but had this quirky assignment he required of all of his students: every Monday morning, we had to turn in sermon notes. One could attend church in person, listen to a radio sermon, or watch one on TV, but notes were due at the beginning of class every week without fail. For three years, I was rarely without pen and paper at church. What started as a required assignment became a habit that I expect will last a lifetime since I haven't given it up yet.
I'm thankful for this habit because writing notes helps me pay closer attention on Sundays. It helps me to learn more from what I'm hearing, so it has a bigger impact on my week and on my life. Sometimes I wonder if my furious note-taking is distracting to my neighbors. I hope not, because I'd hate to give it up.