Lection Connection - Spirit Sightings

May 26, 2019: The Power of Listening

From Fraser Macnaughton


As the UK goes round and round in circles with regard to the prospect of leaving the European Union and with elections to that Parliament looming, despite the cacophony of noise coming from the sidelines, it is still almost possible to detect an occasional bout of listening emerging.


Take for example the launch of the Labour Party manifesto for the European election. Its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has claimed that a second referendum could be a “healing process” bringing the Brexit process to a conclusion. In seeking to find “common ground” with his arch enemy the Conservative government, Mr Corbyn maintains that politicians need to listen much more closely to the public who are getting thoroughly fed up with what he calls the “endless loop” of Brexit debate. This was highlighted by the dismal showing of both main parties in recent local elections, with both losing large numbers of local councillors across England and Wales. In response, Mr Corbyn reiterated Labour’s policy to support the “option” of a public vote if the party is unable to obtain a “sensible” Brexit deal, or general election. At the manifesto launch, Mr Corbyn said people should resist being defined simply as leavers or remainers, in reference to the result of the original referendum of 2016, in which the British people chose narrowly to leave the European Union.


Since then, many politicians claim to be in what they call “listening mode,” but a series of inconclusive votes in Parliament still have not resolved anything, as not one motion has been able to command a majority. Mr Corbyn concurred that over 17 million people voted to leave the European Union and as democratic socialists his party could not ignore that. But in the absence of a sensible deal, Labour backs the option of a further public vote. Mr Corbyn said, “We could allow ourselves to be defined only as ‘remainers’ or ‘leavers,’ labels that meant nothing to us only a few years ago. But where would that take us? Who wants to live in a country stuck in this endless loop? Nothing is easy in this, but, our essential message has to be to bring people together.”


Explore… Acts 16:9–15

  • What mechanisms does your faith community have to be able to facilitate better listening in conflict or dispute scenarios?
  • In an age where “conversion” is often viewed suspiciously, in what ways can your faith community bring the gospel message of love to the wider community?
  • In a world of noise and clamour what place do you think quietness and listening have for people?



The still, small voice of calm is so often drowned out in our noisy world, where those who shout loudest seem to hold all the aces. May we be truly counter-cultural in our listening, our gentleness, our peace, and our quietness so that others may come to learn more of the sound of silence. Amen.


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