Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

Devotion June 27, 2018

I wan’t sure I should tell this story.  It doesn’t put me in a very good light…. but then I guess it is OK to take one for purpose of writing this devotion!  It starts by admitting I have bad habits - 2 of them in fact.  (Well, there is probably more than that but for today we will limit it to these two.  I’m sure in the future more of them will pop up!)
The first bad habit - well I’m not sure if it is a bad habit or if it is ‘just the way I am’.  I always disliked that phrase ‘it is just the way I am’ cause it sort of implies that we can’t change and if you are a believer in the power of the Holy Spirit then that is all about change but that is a topic for another day…..  This big build up is just to point out my unobservant nature.  Now what is that you say?  I just don’t notice details in my surrounding.  I hope I am never at a crime scene because I would be useless……  Did you see the perpetrator of the crime?  ‘Yes’ I would say.  Can you tell me about them?  “Not much” I would answer.  What were they wearing? I would ponder for a moment and reply “I’m not sure”. Were they short or tall?  Again the pondering “I’m not sure”….. The conversation would continue but not much information would be forthcoming.
I actually took a class one time to develop observation skills.  I was working as a chaplain in a hospital and during one of the trainings it was pointed out that to be an effective chaplain we should notice things about the surroundings and such….  I really did try but there is a skill that just isn’t part of me.  And if I think about it being observant I try but it just doesn't work out very well.   
One of my great unobservant moments came when I was doing pulpit supply at a church and my sermon was on one of Jesus’ parables.  After the service one of the congregational members came up to me and said…. “I was sure that during your message you would mention the stained glass window.”  Now I had noticed there was this huge stained glass window which was the entire back wall of the church.  The direction I faced during the entire service. Right in front of me.   I did remember it was beautiful - but the fact that it very plainly depicted the topic of my sermon just didn’t register…. 
Now the other bad habit that needs to be a part of this account today is my propensity to walk looking down instead of walking ahead.  At least I know why I do this - it has to do with the fact that I am one of those people who can fall down standing still…. (I feel bad for my daughter who inherited this falling malady).  It is not that there is anything wrong, I am just not as coordinated as many people - most people - almost everyone else.  
My worst falling story which is emblazoned forever in my memory came when I was in hight school.  In the town I grew up in there was a military school and all of the residents of the school  were required to attend church on Sunday Mornings.  Our particular church seemed to be the church most of them came to.  It was quite spectacular because the cadets in their nifty uniforms would ‘form up’ at the school which was on the other end of town and march through town in great formation, with pomp and circumstance  to church on Sunday mornings.  They would attend worship (they had a special place in the balcony of the church and that is another interesting story which I”ll have to remember to relay at some later date!)
Anyway, after worship the cadets would then get back into their marching formation for the march back to school.  Each Sunday after worship this gathering back together happened directly in front of the educational building of the church.  One Sunday my uncoordinated, unobservant self came out of the educational building just as all the cadets had put themselves into their proper place in their marching block and were facing the educational building…. I hope you have this picture.  There are 50 or so cadets of junior high and high school age looking straight at the educational building as I quickly come through the door and proceed to fall down the front stairs…..
It was traumatic.
So then began the habit of looking down as I walk because I have been known to fall down just walking across a flat concrete sidewalk….. Thus became the habit of looking down as I walk because then I can be on the lookout for items on the ground or sidewalk or road or floor that might trip me up - altho I don’t often need anything actual object there to cause this tripping.
So this uncoordinated, unobservant nature of mine came in to play the other afternoon as I was exiting a building.  This building as many professional buildings had two sets of automatic doors you traversed through to enter or exit the building.  Now I am not sure on this particular day if I had forgotten there were two sets of sliding doors, or if I had just become overly confident in the automatic sliding of these doors.  I wasn’t particularly distracted by anything… but I was as usual walking along looking at the floor assuming the doors were at peak working ability, gliding through the first set of automatic doors and of course not noticing the sign on the second set of doors which said something along the lines of the door was working slowly…..
Bam! Straight into the door I walked of course causing great consternation from the people in the vicinity of the unobservant, uncoordinated old lady who walked straight into a door because she was looking down while she walked and not looking ahead and suffering from the assumption that she did not need to observe the door in front of her because it ‘should’ be sliding open as I approached…   and then maybe there was some concern about the door…. The good news was I did not fall down which given my history was rather surprising.
Do you go through your faith life looking down and not observing what is around you?  Do you go through your faith life not realizing where God is and what he is doing all around you?  Do you have yourself charging ahead without considering where God may be and what God is doing?  Do you take the time to reflect on what God has done for you or do you just assume that God will automatically do whatever you desire, or want, or think you want?  
When it comes to our relationship with God we cannot barrel ahead with our heads down assuming God will open the doors in front of us and clear the obstacles.  Sometimes God will let us bang into the closed door just to remind us that God is not something we should assume, but someone we should be actively involved with; activity looking and experiencing the God that is with us, realizing his presence but also realizing that unless we observe how he is working we miss all the blessings, all the work, all the care and concern and comfort and peace that God offers.  We miss the wonder of what God does.
Look up!  Be aware!  The God you love and believe in is there… and we only really realize that when we pay attention!