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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

2 September 2020: Sylvia Roberts, St Peter's Church, Petersfield

Overpopulated ears

On one hot day last week my ears were severely overpopulated. They had to support my spectacles, so that I could see; my sunglasses so that I was shielded from the bright sunshine; my two hearing aids so that I could hear people speaking to me and the elastic straps of my Covid mask so that I cut down the risk of breathing on others – (oh yes! and also my earrings which, in my vanity, I am rarely without.) You can, imagine, perhaps the intertwined disaster that happened when I came to remove my mask and two sets of specs and two hearing aids all tumbled to the ground!

My ears have also been overpopulated with news. At our final service in St. Peter’s before lockdown, Will, our Vicar passed on to us some wise advice he had received from our Diocesan Bishop Christopher. “Try not to watch the news more than once a day” and I have roughly adhered to that through lockdown but news has all sorts of sneaky alternative ways of reaching my ears. Friends phone with news, family Facetime with news, my phone pings with news and in order to do my beloved crossword daily I have to buy a newspaper.

Oh dear! Too much news. Overpopulated ears.

So what is my respite and what is my antidote for my overpopulated ears. As usual I turn to the eternal wisdom and consolation of the Psalms where ears are mentioned at least 27 times. In the Psalms, if I approach them in the quiet of the early morning or the hush of evening peacefully, I hear the Psalmist framing words for me to address to the ear of God. “Give ear to my words, O Lord; give heed to my sighing. O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice. For you are not a God who delights in wickedness, lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness.” (Psalm 5) One would imagine that with the prayers of the world assailing the ears of God that those ears would become overpopulated but no. “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40 ) Praise be!

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