Noticing

Look and listen for God in the ordinary and everyday

Do you ever wonder why some things seem invisible? Why don't you see the salsa in the refrigerator door? How can you walk right by someone you know and not see them until they say your name? You see right through them. It is an irony, I suppose, that even the sighted can be blind. And the hearing can be deaf, too. You tell a friend, "I didn't know!" They respond, "But I told you."

Our deafness deeply concerned Jesus. He repeatedly asked his disciples why they didn't see or hear. Why they seemed to hear but "not understand." Why they could see but "learn nothing" (Mark 4:12). It seems revelation is around us and no one is noticing.

Have you ever considered that every spiritual practice begins with noticing? Paying attention to God opens the door to prayer. Giving and receiving love is a transaction in noticing someone besides yourself. And unless you are tuning your awareness, you won't recognize God's word even when it is as near as your own breath.

It is virtually impossible to notice things when we are on autopilot. If we think we know what we will see, if we have already been there and done that, we tend to miss things. We aren't expecting the voice of God, or the veil to lift on things transcendent. Everything is the same old same old.

"Listen." Expectations often determine what we see and hear. Expectations also impact what can actually happen. Jesus' neighbors in Nazareth didn't expect him to be anything other than ordinary. Their blindness kept them from seeing any miracles. The religious establishment of Jesus' day also expected one particular sort of Messiah—not the Jesus sort. So in spite of what they saw and heard, they disbelieved their eyes and their ears.

Opening our eyes to see and our ears to hear is the foundation of any spiritual practice. Jesus would spend nights in prayer because he noticed his need of time with his Father. Jesus hung out with people because he noticed they were sheep without a shepherd. Jesus noticed! Jesus "saw" the rock on which he would build his church in the disciple who denied him three times. Jesus heard faith in the plea of a desperate father. "I believe. Help my unbelief."

We live in a world where internal and external noise are the norm. Furthermore, we are in such a hurry to get to the next thing—the thing in the future—that we miss the sacrament of the present moment. Now is the only moment we have for living. Jesus could look at the lilies and the birds and notice how God was speaking through them. The moment held revelations about trust if one would notice.

June 25, 2012 at 2:12 PM

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