All Shall Be Well: May We Be Quick To Hear, Slow To Speak, Slow To Anger

Clergy from left, Deacon Cynthia Biddlecomb, retired; Pastor Nicolé Ferry, Assistant Rector Lynn Finnegan and Pastor Deb Church. Courtesy photo

By The Rev. Nicolé Raddu Ferry
Bethlehem Lutheran Church
Los Alamos

And all shall be well.

Those of you reading this article have learned that we are in the midst of something. Yup we moved our clocks ahead one hour. Anyone still tired? Families of school children are thinking “will we make it to Spring Break?” The calendar says that Spring has arrived and yet although we are ready to not wear our coats and hats the little snow squalls we have experienced here in Los Alamos say: Spring? Not quite yet my friends.

We who gather in our communities of faith are 27 days into the 40 days journey in this time we call LENT.  This “spring” time journey toward Easter is a time of reflection and the practices we focus on are prayer, fasting and giving. It helps us focus on our relationship with God, with one another and encourages us to see things differently, hear things differently and to do things that will make a difference in our families, our community, our world.

There are long lists of things you can do during LENT; even calendars from which you can hold yourself accountable. Sometimes it turns into a checklist for things you “have to do” not an opportunity to do the things you “get to do.” Lately I have been thinking about a practice that may fit into one or more of the three categories: Praying, fasting, and giving and yet I think we are having a hard time doing this “get to thing.” That thing? Listening.

I was “listening” to a podcast where music producer, Rick Rubin, described what real listening is actually about:

“When the listener is totally present, the speaker often communicates differently. Most people aren’t used to being fully heard, and it can be jarring for them.

Sometimes we block the flow of information being offered and compromise true listening. Our critical mind may kick in, taking note of what we agree with and what we don’t or what we like and dislike. We may look for reasons to distrust the speaker or make them wrong.

Formulating an opinion is not listening. Neither is preparing a response or defending our position or attacking another’s. To listen impatiently is to hear nothing at all.

“Listening is suspending disbelief.”

Rick Rubin listens. Rick Rubin produced music from a variety of people from Johnny Cash (Country), to Aerosmith (Hard Rock) to Linkin Park (Nu-Metal) to Run-DMC (Hip Hop) to Slayer (Alternative Rock). None of those artists thought alike, none of them are in one category, and Rick did not discredit one genre over another. Rick listened.

As we continue our journey toward Easter and Spring Break and Spring, may we listen well. May amazing possibilities arise and may we be pleasantly surprised.

James 1:19: “Know this, my beloved, let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

Editor’s note: ‘All Shall Be Well’ is a semi-monthly column written by local women clergy (pastors and deacons) including, ELCA Deacon Cynthia Biddlecomb, M.Div., retired (; Nicolé Ferry, Pastor, Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church (; Lynn Finnegan, Assistant Rector, The Episcopal Church of the Holy Faith, Santa Fe ( and Deb Church, Pastor, White Rock Presbyterian Church (

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