Ear to the Ground

Dear One,

Ear to the ground.

In a recent prayer meeting with our church we were asked, “If our church were a part of the body of Christ (which of course, it is), what part would it be?”

One answer was “ear.” More to the point, “ear to the ground.”
Body bent low, face turned, ear pressed right on top of the earth. Listening. Such deep listening.

The image remains with me as an invitation more than an affirmation. We are to listen for that which we cannot see

Let me say that again, we are to listen for that which we cannot see

There is so very much happening below the surface of our individual, communal, and cultural lives. There are seismic shifts, the earth moving under our feet, threatening to tear us asunder. But there are also the almost imperceptible sounds of hope, subtle stirrings harder to hear, of seeds sinking down, bulbs breaking open, roots reaching for one another in deep darkness. 

I regret to say I don’t always listen this intently. I too often respond merely to what I see (and let me tell you, what we see is never the whole story). 

I did this a few weeks ago when I was in a meeting with a friend, talking about her work in the world. After our time together, I realized that instead of turning my head, bowing low, and taking the time to listen deep, I merely spoke of what I saw. I did not serve her well that day. 

So much happens under the surface of our lives.

I once had a picture in my mind of Jesus on his hands and knees in the dirt. Bottom high, head low, ear to the ground of my life. In this image, Jesus was not only listening to what was below the surface of me, but speaking to it as well. And in a gentle, quiet, loving and tender way, he was coaxing it forth, inviting it to come to full light & life.

Oh, that we could do the same! That we, like Jesus, could be present to the unseen, unsaid, unsurfaced questions or needs in our own lives and the lives of others. 

What if, by bending low to listen to ourselves, our sisters (& brothers) or the Spirit of God, we could perceive what is happening below the surface? Perhaps then we could prevent, prepare for, partner with or provide for what is truly needed. Isn’t this what the prophets of old did time and again? Ears to the ground, listening to that which they could not see?

“Listen carefully, I am about to do something,” God says. “Do you not perceive it? Will you not be aware of it (Isaiah 43:19)?”

Ear to the Ground: Our Little Life Words of the week. 



  • What is happening under the surface of your life? What seismic shifts or subtle stirrings?


  • Go outside. Get down on all fours, bend down low, put your ear to the ground and listen. How can you bring that posture with you into your noisy days?



  • For at least one day, ask for nothing in prayer. Instead show up with open eyes, ears, & heart, declaring along with Samuel: “‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:9).

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