Listening to God or a distraction

One day at meeting for Worship our initial reading was advice and Query No 12 “When you are preoccupied and distracted in meeting let wayward and disturbing thoughts give way quietly to your awareness of God's presence among us and in the world. Receive the vocal ministry of others in a tender and creative spirit. Reach for the meaning deep within it, recognising that even if it is not God's word for you, it may be so for others. Remember that we all share responsibility for the meeting for worship whether our ministry is in silence or through the spoken word.”

The following ministry was offered:

Advice and Query No 12 is perhaps the most troubling of all A&Qs. We are encouraged not to be distracted by wayward thoughts and to be aware of God. But how is one to know if the distraction is not God speaking to us?

At a committee meeting in Friends House, London, a Friend was asked how she was? She replied “Ooh God is bothering me”. How could one answer?

Haiku poems are seldom rhymes and often mystical but often, very powerful. The following was offered:

I said, “God why do you bother me?”
And God said,
“Thank you for listening”

Inspiration for ministry may often be found in the words and phrases of children, and so, from a phrase that we are all familiar with “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me” and as a corollary, nothing we hear can do us any harm but whether it is God or a distraction that we are listening to, it is not what we hear but how we respond that matters.

Whatever you hear,
It will do no harm to you.
But your response may