Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Paying Attention To What?

   I rounded the corner of a hallway I have walked through hundreds of times before only to be standing face to face with a wall. It literally was not there the day before. I was walking through the underground hallways of St. Francis hospital when all of the sudden my route changed. I had been in the hospital the day before, but this wall had been erected since I had last passed that way.
   I found myself paying more attention as I walked the rest of my visit there - what else had I missed? What else had changed along the path that had once been routine?
   Later, that same day, I found myself standing in the middle of the Linwood Cemetery waiting for the start of a graveside service. I looked up the hill to see the marker at the burial plot of General Henry Benning, the lawyer and Civil War soldier from Columbus who is the namesake for our city's most famous landmark now. Beyond that marker, in the distance stood the Medical Center. I thought about the juxtaposition of a place that intends to bring healing with a cemetery where loved ones are laid to rest. I thought of the contrasts between the two. I then thought of some similarities, too.
   Finally, riding back from my visits and settling into my routine, I found myself paying attention to some of these thoughts. You could say I was paying attention to what I had been paying attention to. That is when it hit me: I had been missing something all day.
   I've been encouraging each of us to spend some time this Season of Lent in silence. I've asked us to consider turning off some things - televisions, smartphones, music, and distractions - in order to allow God to speak to us in the silence. Silence can allow us to pay closer attention to the ways God is leading us. But, we have to work at it. For all of the attention I had been paying that day to hallways at the hospital or landmarks in downtown, I had failed to listen to the One who gives all these things meaning. Spending time in prayer, meditation, and silence before God requires effort. It is more than just the passing of time. It has the power to heal and to guide. Jesus said, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6) May we spend some time in silence paying attention to the Spirit of God wanting to lead us. Grace and Peace, Scott

An Update from the Building Committee
   The Hallway Renovations will be wrapping up this week and next week. The new and expanded Women's Bathroom is on track to being finished in the next week, also. As the bathroom nears completion, they will be able to put down the carpet tiles in the back. On Monday, March 31, the ceiling tiles and grids from the front will be removed, the walls will be painted, the new ceilings will be installed, and the new baseboards will go in. Because of this, the church office will not be accessible except by phone or email next Monday through Wednesday.
   The Parking Lot plans were signed on Friday and submitted by French and Associates to the City for review and approval. Still on track for starting in early May.

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