Paying Attention

“How can we celebrate Easter when the eggs are put away?” asked a disbelieving child on Sunday when we moved the arrow on the church calendar to the fourth of seven Sundays of Easter. I admit, in that moment doubt about the importance of teaching the church calendar crept in. Does the way the church tells time matter? But then, another student said, “It is also Earth day.” I think it was the Spirit who inspired me to respond,  “I wonder if Earth Day is a way of celebrating Easter when we are done with the eggs?” Honoring God by caring for God’s creation is an excellent way to remember that God is the source of life!

It is easy to get distracted from what God does in the world, even in this season when new life is literally bursting from the cold ground. Our calendars are full. Our screens shout at us to do more, buy more, be more. Every minute of the day is filled with important things. And this, I realized, is exactly why we need the church calendar.

The church calendar reminds us that God is on a different schedule than we are. God’s ideas of what is important may differ radically from our daily reality. What does God think is important? Jesus named the first and greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind.” (CEB).

What if this crazy church calendar and the weird things in worship aren’t about doing more, being more, buying more? What if they are exactly the opposite: things that orient us, for an hour a week, to paying attention to God. What if that hour a week seeped into the rest of our week? I wonder how we celebrate Easter on Earth day and every day?

Read: Psalm 23 or watch the Godly Play video of the Good Shepherd.

Create: Pay attention this week. Take photos of things that remind you of Psalm 23.

Discuss: Share your photos with one another. Share your highs and lows. Where are the green grassy places in your life? Where are the dark valleys? How do you pay attention to God’s presence through the ups and downs?

Pray: This week’s prayer is actually A Statement of Faith from the United Church of Canada. Notice the themes of presence and creation.

We are not alone, we live in God’s world.
We believe in God:
  who has created and is creating,
  who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh,
     to reconcile and make new,
  who works in us and others by the Spirit.
We trust in God.
We are called to be the church:
  to celebrate God’s presence,
  to love and serve others,
  to seek justice and resist evil,
  to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
     our judge and our hope.
In life, in death, in life beyond death,
  God is with us.
We are not alone. 
Thanks be to God. Amen.

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