When I was a seminary student a number of years ago, I was first introduced to writer Frederick Buechner. (Pronounced - Beek-ner) Buechner also happens to be a Presbyterian minister, but most of us know him for his amazing books. I am reading a collection of his sermons and essays called Buechner 101. If you want to start somewhere reading his work, that is as good of a place as any.
In thinking about what makes Buechner so insightful, I think it has to do with his honesty and his willingness to stop and pay attention to his life. Buechner thinks this is one of the most important things we can do. It is also often one of the hardest things to do -especially as the pace of life seems to speed up exponentially every day. Video screens of all types now clamor for our constant attention. Yet, paying attention to our lives is an important part of seeing and knowing God.
Sometimes God actually feels more distant to me than when I was younger. I wonder if God is really more distant, or if my ability to pay attention to the presence of God has been overwhelmed by the bright lights of life. It is like trying to see the stars at night in the sky - sometimes the lights from the city are so bright you can barely even see them. But go away to the beach or the mountains where there are no lights, and the sky radiates with the glorious stars of God's creation. By the way, the stars were always there -- it was just harder to see them when there are so many other distracting lights.
This weekend I am heading up to the mountains with some of our men for our annual retreat. Rev. Robby Carroll is our guest speaker and he will be inviting us to listen to our lives - past, present, and future. I am looking forward to seeing the stars at night, and hopefully recognizing more clearly the God who made them and has been present in my life all along - whether I constantly recognize him or not.
Prayer for Today
Loving God, you promise to always be present, whether or not we recognize you. Teach us to turn down the lights of life so that we might see you more clearly. Thank you for always being there for us. We pray this in the strong name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.