Therefore we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.
A couple of months ago, I was sitting in a park and attempting to write a sermon. My brain had started to feel a little foggy, so rather than forcing my way forward, I decided to close my laptop and simply take a few minutes to breath and enjoy the creation around me—hoping for some inspiration.
Within thirty seconds, two young boys started playing just to the left of me. They looked to be about the ages of five and two, and the younger one was repeating a phrase that—oddly enough—sounded like “Yahweh.”
Now, I’m 99.9% sure that he wasn’t actually saying or proclaiming the name “Yahweh” while his older brother playfully chased him around the public grassy area. Likely he was saying something like “that way” but just couldn’t pronounce the ‘th.’
In the moment, however—and perhaps because I had been steeping myself in a sermon text for the past three hours—all I could hear was “Yahweh.”
So there I was, sitting in this beautiful park, staring at mountains and water, and I’m reminded—from the mouths of children—of the great Name of Yahweh. And if I hadn’t taken that moment to pause, to put away what I was doing, and to pay attention, I might not have noticed.
Tony Campolo once shared of a time when he was conversing with a Monk about seeing Creation as a sacrament, “a place where you can meet with God.” And the Monk said these words to him:
“The next time you sit under the stars or sit by a babbling brook, listen to God. Ask Him to speak to you through His creation and to awaken you to His presence in the miracle of His physical world…. Empty yourself, and He will flow into you if you invite Him. Surrender to Him, and He will feed you with His glory. You try too hard. You cannot go to Him. You can only yield to His coming to you.
“Look closely at something long enough,” he said, “and you will find that it begins to look back at you.”
What would it be like to look so devotedly towards God that we sense His fatherly gaze back at us? Because as the author of Hebrews puts it, we can easily and passively allow the words of God to drift right past us if we are not paying attention.
So in all seasons of life, but especially in this season, may we always be reminded to pause, to breathe, and to pay attention to the presence of the Holy Spirit, who is always with us.
Prayer: Living God, in this season of uncertainty and confusion, it is easy to allow our lives to become patterned and frantic while forgetting where You exist in it all. Help us, Lord, to see You and hear You in our daily rhythms. May You be our companion and helper in moments when we most need Your living breath to reinvigorate us. In the precious name of Jesus, amen.