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My grandchildren have me looking as if for the first time once again. They see what I pass over. They are delighted with what I consider common. They hear in a fresh way. Observing them takes me out of my world and into theirs. Fresh ears and eyes that see and hear with wonder. It reminds me of what Jesus said: “unless you become like a child.”

I thought about this when I was at Classis this week. It always strikes me how my elders experience Classis. They enjoy hearing about the various ministries and encouraged by the examinations they experience. It is different than my reaction. At times I find them tedious, even if necessary. Maybe because of my recent involvement on the Interim Committee of Classis, I have had frequent updates and am prepared for kinds of reports I hear. But my elders listen with fresh ears. It helps me to listen through their ears. When missionaries tell of people coming to faith, they are blessed. When the reports reveal fresh attempts to engage the University culture with the power of the gospel they are blessed. They find that the hard work of the ministries, the encouraging blessings, and well spoken words are enlightening. Fresh ears. I need them.

We need new eyes to see with grace and hear with gratitude. The world is filled with ambiguity where good meets bad, health meets sickness, victory meets defeat, and grace meets sin. Here is where God has chosen to bring good news “Jesus is Lord”, lead through Word and Spirit, build his church, and give grace and power to the least of these. But it is not reported on the newscasts. In church life, we experience ambiguity. So it helps to listen to fresh ears and see with news eyes. It is filled with experience of grace and hearts of gratitude.

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