by REV. LAURIE TENHAVE-CHAPMAN
First Congregational Church, Rockford
As summer draws to a close, we reluctantly step on the treadmill of fall programming. We leave behind the quiet of the lake, the watery mist of a boat ride, and the relaxed conversations at sunset from back decks. As I entered the high school with my daughter to accomplish registration for a new year, the noise seemed deafening. So much energy goes into launching a new initiative. How do we hold on to the replenishment of the summer?
The Lakota Indians say to one another, “Be attentive.” They exhort one another to be so attuned to their world that, even when a trail of tiny ants walks by, it will sound like drums. A gift of the Native Americans is their awareness of their life-giving connectedness to all of creation. They balance community life and celebrations with solitary immersion in God’s world.
As we step back into busy schedules, clutching our day planners lest we miss an appointment, let us be attentive to God’s grace. We must become aware of our own biases that obscure an honest appraisal of our surroundings and look for God in the faces around us. Let’s listen for voices of need that count on our response. If we are humble, we will find God’s blessing from people and circumstances we might have considered beneath us. As the noise amps up in dance studios, school cafeterias, football stadiums and boardroom discussions, we are challenged to BE ATTENTIVE to the still, small voice of God.
The prophet Elijah was unable to hear God in the storm that swirled around him. It was in the hush that followed, with his senses heightened, that he knew God’s presence.
God grants us energy for all that is required of us. God gives us meaning so that our activities are carried out with holy purpose. Without God, we simply slog through each day, weary and emptied. Let us BE ATTENTIVE as we register for autumn opportunities so that we will be able to hear God always!