I took a walk through the community this morning. I’ve found its helpful when you have done all you can with the aorist verb tense in your own mind. There are a lot of people busying themselves with the tasks of their day. Taking care of housework, mowing the lawn and making me sneeze, daycare kids screaming for joy, services available and open for people. I also noticed quite a few spaces of things missing or things that were lacking something. Services that could flourish if they had a bit more help. Land that just needs some straitening up. Sidewalks that just needed to be swept. People in the vicinity of one another with something available to help others.
There are two sides of the issue the first i believe is the door that opens the floodgates. It is either our appetite for getting to the destination or the amount of caffeine that we drink that blurs our ability to slow down and notice. To recognize the world before us. To conclude that the earth is truly the Lord’s and that that creation tells us all about God’s reputation. We memorize it, but have not learned to be and silent while the Lord is in His holy temple long enough to recognize it. We are in a hurry. The airport is funny to me, but the boulevard and street and hallway is the same thing only with closer destinations.
When we recognize God’s involvement we begin to see. Like the student whose teacher sees him and takes thought of him, or the sculptor who notices clay, the author who notices that ink and paper can do more, the family that notices more than blood type, the friend who notices dignity and existence of other things and other people. Noticing (realizing, beholding, seeing) brings about the greatest potential for things.
Moses noticed and learned that bushes can burn and not be consumed and it led to people realizing that God does not give up on us. Joshua noticed that trouble does not supersede what is good in a land and it led to a place that God would not give up on. Jeremiah noticed that seeking the good of a “pagan” city even as an exile will bring about God not giving up on anyone. Andrew noticed a few fish and loaves and it led to thousands learning that God doesn’t separate physical from spiritual. And Jesus again noticed water till it became wine, noticed people touching his hem, noticed a son needing a mother and a mother needing a son after he had been beaten till he was unnoticable.
The second part is maintaining. I see a empty lot, and it has been dumped on with old refrigerators and empty boxes and bottles and weeds. There is a tree, but its one that lays sideways because of its own weight. There are bricks of good use but they lay in piles. I use my hands to remove the refrigerator and trash. And as I dig in the ground I find treasure from the neighbor’s house that had long sense been lost. I bring it to them and they are reminded of their children’s toys. Fond memories of people they had noticed. I use the bricks to lay a walkway in and now people noticing this plot only to avoid it now make their way through it. It is not long an area to abstain or condemn. I plant seeds and hope that it will germinate and the grass is not the splendor of the plot of land but the compliment of how amazing it already was. It was a just a plot. But now it is land. And perhaps later it will become more. The second point is maintaining care. Staying incarnate, involved and not departing. I don’t have an answer for that part. In many ways I do not know if it is possible.
What is of fundamental importance if we are going to change, cultivate, improve, or just be present in the world right before us we have to notice it. Dignity is the notion of something being worthy or respected; affirming its existence; acknowledging that it matters to someone at least. If David is right and the earth is truly the Lords how else would he have arrived at this conclusion without noticing?
If you are living. Arrive at the same conclusions as all the psalmists. Recognize as Paul that creation longs for consummation and presses forward, testifying. Slow down and see…or as so often scripture says “Behold.”