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Listening to The Heavenly Director

Last week I had the privilege of gaining an insight into the world of live television news broadcasting. My daughter in law, who is a reporter and presenter for STV news in Aberdeen invited Ruth and I into the studio to watch a live 6pm news programme. We were shown around the offices, then the editing suite, before we were tasked to sit in silence as we watched the director, camera operator and autocue operator get things rolling (there were also two other staff present, but I haven’t got a clue what they were doing!) All the while the programme presenter and sports reporter were in the adjacent studio by themselves, where their only method of communication with the control room was via an earpiece.

As the programme went on it was fascinating to hear the staff in the control room communicating with the presenters; they were updated on timings (every second matters), asked to adjust their position for optimum camera angles and reminded of the contents of the next report. I was amazed at the concentration level of the presenters who were reading from an autocue whilst listening and acting upon many messages from the control room via their earpiece. There were so many voices, and so much to distract the presenters, yet they listened well and followed the director’s instructions.

There’s no doubt that in our modern lives there are so many voices that can distract us. Our tech-heavy world bombards us with information which can so easily leave us confused and even anxious. Even the Christian world offers us a myriad of resources all claiming to be God’s best for us; again confusion can ensue as many voices seek our attention. I wonder, in the midst of the noise, what voices are you listening to? How easily might you become distracted? I love the account of Elijah as the Lord appears to him on the mountain top (1 Kings 19:9-18). After a great victory Elijah became distracted, fled for his life and hid in a cave. There God spoke, not through a powerful wind, earthquake or fire, but through the gentle whisper of His voice as He simply, yet profoundly asked ‘what are you doing here Elijah?’

Today is Pentecost Sunday marking 50 days since Easter Day, and recalling how God’s Spirit was given to His disciples after Jesus’ ascension. The account we often turn to in Acts 2 pictures the Spirit descending in power, manifesting Himself like the roaring of a windstorm and flames or tongues of fire. Though I don’t doubt the authenticity of Luke’s account, or the fact that God in His sovereignty couldn’t similarly appear today, I have to admit I don’t often witness the Spirit manifesting Himself in similar ways in my life - though that may just be me! More often however, I see the work of the Spirit manifest in the small, often everyday happenings or ‘chance' meetings; just like the still small voice or gentle whisper Elijah heard. The question remains however, are you listening?

As I reflected further on my STV experience I was struck by how calm the control room appeared as the crew went live. The director’s instructions weren’t barked harshly, and the whole atmosphere appeared relatively calm as instructions were quietly, yet professionally communicated and acted upon. Today as many of our churches meet, they will recall again the awesome work of the Holy Spirit as it was poured out on the early believers on the day of Pentecost. So, in keeping with the season, I simply pray today that each of our spiritual earpieces will be tuned to listen for the voice of our Heavenly Director as he fills, equips and directs us by His Holy Spirit to live lives that broadcast only good news to a lost and broken world.

Alistair Birkett Director: Northern England & Scotland


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