Paying Attention

June 30, 2023 • Rev. Jen Gibbs

One of the reasons Jacob of the Bible (Genesis) high tails it out of town is to escape his brother Esau's death threat. Jacob had stolen Esau's blessing. On the way to his destination, he stops for the night. It wasn't any place special, just a stop along the road. It was so ordinary; it could have been the road leading to any of our houses. There, Jacob dreams about a stairway with angels between earth and heaven. God stands above and blesses him. The dream leaves Jacob claiming that God is on that stretch of road right where he stands and that surely God is in that place. But then he says, "...But I was unaware of it."  

That's so easy to understand. We are busy driving and are unaware of the beautiful sunset. We are busy with our lives and don't realize we can help a friend in need. We are busy with the duties of parenting and miss the joy of a growing child. These glimpses of God and God's blessings are often right where we stand, but sometimes we are unaware.  

Many stories of our faith call us to pay attention. It's a spiritual practice and one that takes discipline. We are a culture who likes to do things, and paying attention may not feel productive. Paying attention isn't coming naturally to me as I practice it in my first 30 days of serving St. Luke's. I meet with staff and church members and listen. I attend ministry events and wander the hallways. Instead of jumping into do ministry, right now my job is to pay attention. To notice. To learn about this community, its people and how ministry is reaching others. I think if I had been busy doing ministry, I might have missed hearing the faith journeys of this brilliant staff. I might have missed seeing up close the tender ways this church makes space every day to include those often excluded. I might not have noticed all the ways this church has grown and evolved to serve others in a changing world. What can I tell you so far? God is surely in this place!  

Whatever stretch of road you're on this week, may you take a moment to pause and pay attention... to your breath, to the folks and happenings around you. As you do, I trust you'll catch a glimpse of God who is surely with you. 

Rev. Jen Gibbs