My daughter and I hiked for seven miles this morning as we prepared for and extended backpacking trip. We got on the trail around 6am, it was still dark but the sun was just beginning to influence the lighting. What was unique was the rain and water left over from the evening thunderstorms. It was the same trail as other mornings and yet, it was completely different.
The trail was more slick than usual in some places. The spider webs glistened with rain drops. Our sweat clung to our shirts and shorts in the Georgia humidity. It was all different. It was all the same.
Here at Bethelview United Methodist Church, I find myself in what is a new office to me. It is a new building and sanctuary and new friendships are beginning to be formed. That is what I am aware of right now. For the people of this church, it is different too. A new pastor is here in the pulpit. I bring a different style and different ideas. It is all different. It is all the same.
My vision disability requires of me to be more aware of what is going on around me. I have to be more aware when I drive and when I walk. Going up stairs or down a trail, I must be more aware of certain conditions. My daughter, while hiking on the trail, was aware too. She pointed out the inchworm climbing his string. She got to laugh at crazy squirrels running about and the massive snail making his own way up the trail. I was not aware of these things, not until she pointed them out. We were on the exact same trail but it was all different and it was all the same.
Awareness is a practice of attentiveness. It can include all our senses or it maybe we need to only use one of them. Being aware means we also can benefit from other people’s senses, on their awareness, on God’s voice speaking to them (this can happen only if we believe truly, that God might speak to another person). In the book of Acts, in chapter 9, we find that when Jesus was speaking to Paul… “The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one (Acts 9:7).” I suspect Jesus didn’t intend for them to see him but do we know for sure? We find at the tomb Mary didn’t recognize it was Jesus after the resurrection (John 20:14). Even those who knew Jesus were found to be unaware it was Him!
In this day and time where we face so much division, is it not surprising we are not aware when Jesus is in our midst? Is it any wonder that we resort to frustration and anger? It may well be all the more important for us to be about the spiritual practices and learning to listen to God and one another.
We are all different. We are all the same.
We all yearn to hear God.