Please take your seats, buckle up, and make sure your tray tables are stowed properly. We're about to embark on a journey. Our shared destination- "Being the Neighbor Everyone Always Wanted".
So what's step number one in this tangled, wildly complex, yet frustratingly simple way to live? What is the very first practice to live out such a big concept? Are you ready for this? Here goes...
Pay Attention. (No, that's not another preface statement...that's what the first practice is.)
*And then the air evacuated the room*
Seems a bit underwhelming, right? Not exactly the impressive and power-packed words you were expecting, yeah? I mean, if this were some kind of Season Premier for an intriguing new Netflix Production, you'd be closing out the browser window and going to bed, right? Don't worry, you're in good company- we'd do the same thing too. But lean in, look deeper at this vitally important practice of the Sent People of God.
Long ago, there was a sort of fugitive-wanderer named Jacob. One fateful night, he has a dream, we're talking about one of those "What the heck was that?" kind of dreams. As he lifts his head off the stone pillow, the sun beginning to peek through the early morning sky, Jacob remarks, "Surely the Lord was in this place, and I was not aware of it."*
It wasn't that God finally found Jacob when he woke up-- it was that Jacob finally realized that God was there all along.
God wasn't hiding until this memorable night. Jacob's eyes finally opened to see that God was there, before he ever arrived.
Or even take for example, Charlton Heston...stay with me here. Charlton, I mean, Moses, when he encounters God in the burning bush deep in the wilderness--did you ever think about how many times Moses may have passed that bush without noticing it? How long had God been trying to get his attention? And when God tells Moses ""Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground..."-notice that the ground is already holy. Moses taking off his "unholy" sandals is not what causes the ground to become holy- it already was, way before Moses and his sandals ever emerges onto the scene.
So now, to point the camera at us, where is God already present and working around us and we've just been missing it? Where are those moments with our neighbors that we miss while we earnestly pursue God, perhaps not realizing He's already right there with us? Could it be that we're missing the holy ground and holy moments happening all around us, every day?
One way that our tribe has adopted this practice of "Paying Attention" is a simple three line prayer before bed. It's two questions and one request for God before we slumber. Join us in participating in Practice #1 of Being the Neighbor Everyone's Always Wanted: Pay Attention-
Where did I join with you today?
Where did I miss you today?
Prepare my eyes, ears, and heart to join with you tomorrow.
*Genesis 28 :)