Tuesday, August 27, 2013

God wants our hearts, not the distractions

Tuesday greetings!  Hope everyone is well. 

Today, I had a very difficult time coming up with a topic to write about.  Just ask my coworker Katie and Adam, both of whom I tried to pawn the job off too.

I spent sometime reading the lectionary for today, read about Thomas Gallaudet and Henry Winter Syle, whose feast day is recognized today, and even skimmed a few blogs trying to come up with what I wanted to write. 

Still I came up empty.

So I tried to work on something else.  Distract myself from the job at hand and hopefully maybe something would just magically come to me.

It did not…

Well this led to me moving most of the furniture in the church into Cheney Parish Hall to set up for Chiral Theory, who will be playing a free show tomorrow night at the Church of the Holy Communion.  If you are interested, there is a dinner at 5:30 and the music starts at 6:00.   Feel free to make your reservations for the dinner by calling 901.767.6987.   (Rates for dinner are $7 per person, $3.50 per child, $20.00 family rate)  I mean just if you were interested in eating a good home cooked meal and wanted to listen to some local musicians play a free show. 

Anyway, back to my original point.  I kept getting distracted.  First we moved the furniture.  Well, then I had to set up the sound.  Then test the sound.

Then make sure everything was exactly where it should be.  Hang the posters.

Then I went back to my office and checked my email.

Still I had no idea what I wanted to write about.  What message could I offer if I couldn’t stay focused.

How often in our everyday lives do we feel distracted?

We literally are surrounded by distractions and don’t even know it.  We seem to just be so scared or unwilling to truly just be still.

We listen to music on the way home from school or from work.  Or we are on our phones catching up with some friends or family while we have a minute to spare on a commute home.  You check your email almost constantly.  Unless you are Jackson or one of the other youth who don’t understand the concept of email and don’t check it or read it, ever.

Maybe you spend way too much time in front of the television.  Always having something on even if it is just for the background noise.

Maybe you are sitting there thinking; well I don’t really watch that much TV and I don’t really check my email.

Well that still leaves Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Youtube, Buzzfeed, Pinterest, Snapchat….

How many times do you find yourself checking these things out in a day?  Did you know that on average a person will check their cell phone 150 times during a waking day of 16 hours? 

That is about every 6 minutes.

Now, in a previous post, I wrote about the blogger Ze Frank who talks about life being lived in that moment when someone is fully engaged in their phone.

Perhaps it is, but what kind of life is that.  One where you are constantly distracted by these material and frivolous things that consume our lives?

Take any relationship you have now.  It can be the relationship between you and a sibling, a best friend, a girlfriend or boyfriend, a parent….you name it.

How does that relationship grow?  How does it work?  What things do you do that help maintain that relationship?  What things can you do that would help that relationship become stronger?

Actually think about it?

Now I am guessing that, checking your email around them, reading the latest post on Buzzfeed instead of having a conversation, or repinning all the stuff you found on Pinterest that you probably will never get around to trying.

The only real way to grow in a relationship with anyone is to be with them.  Be in conversation with them.  Spend time with them.  Talk with them. 

When you are able to really spend time with someone and talk with them, you get to know them, understand them, they get to know you. 

How much time do we spend on growing our relationship with Christ?

How often do we take the time to be still and alone in the presence of God?  How many times do we take the time to pray and be thankful for all of the wonderful gifts of this life?  How many times will we be in church and be thinking about where you are going to lunch afterwards?  Or maybe you have even been checking your phone during the sermon?

Jesus isn’t going to retweet you or like that cool new filter you used on that picture you uploaded to Instagram. 

Get away from the distractions.  It’s ok to just be.  Be in the moment.  Pray.  Spend sometime with God.  Build that relationship just like it was any other.

Rob Bell sums this up in his video series, NOOMA.

“…God doesn’t want the empty rituals.  God wants our hearts”

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