If I can’t see you for some reason but can only hear you, you don’t exist for me in space, which is where seeing happens, but in time, which is where hearing happens. Your words follow one after the other the way tock follows tick. When I have only the sound of you to go by, I don’t experience you as an object the way I would if you stood before me—something that I can walk around, inspect from all angles, more or less define. I experience you more the way I experience the beating of my own heart or the flow of my own thoughts. A deaf man coming upon me listening to you would think that nothing of importance was going on. But something of extraordinary importance is going on. I am taking you more fully into myself than I can any other way. Hearing you speak brings me by the most direct of all routes something of the innermost secret of who you are….
It is no surprise that the Bible uses hearing, not seeing, as the predominant image for the way human beings know God. They can’t walk around God and take God in like a cathedral or an artichoke. They can only listen to time for the sound of God—to the good times and bad times of their own lives for the words God is addressing to, of all people, them….
Listen to your life. Listen to what happens to you because it is through what happens to you that God speaks…. It’s in language that’s not always easy to decipher, but it’s there, powerfully, memorably, unforgettably….
If we only had eyes to see and ears to hear and wits to understand, we would know that the Kingdom of God in the sense of holiness, goodness, beauty is as close as breathing and is crying out to born both within ourselves and within the world; we would know that the Kingdom of God is what we all of us hunger for above all other things even when we don’t know its name or realize that it’s what we’re starving to death for. The Kingdom of God is where our best dreams come from and our truest prayers. We glimpse it at those moments when we find ourselves being better than we are and wiser than we know. We catch sight of it when at some moment of crisis a strength seems to come to us that is greater than our own strength. The Kingdom of God is where we belong. It is home, and whether we realize it or not, I think we are all of us homesick for it.