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Yesterday my alarm sounds at 11:30 a.m., reminding me to pull away from my work for 20 minutes of exercise before lunch.
I drop what I’m doing, lay out my exercise mat, and turn on a current affairs program to carry me through sit-ups, push-ups, and various twists and turns.
But what’s this?
The show has been preempted by live coverage of events I don’t really want to get dragged into. Events that will have to work themselves out without my leaking away precious time and attention.
I just can’t dedicate the bandwidth.
My attention is fully fixed on something more immediate, more urgent: following the fateful journey of the radically nonviolent One, who soon will pour out the totality of his being in witness to divine, merciful, costly LOVE.
I need to pay attention, because he’s showing me how it’s done.
Following him is not one among many things I do. It’s the main thing. Everything else flows from it.
I think now of the words of the Prophet Isaiah:
The Lord GOD has given me a well trained tongue,
that I might speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning he opens my ear, that I may hear.
And I have not rebelled, have not turned back. (see Isaiah 50:4-5)
I listen with the ear of my heart, the prophet says. This is the root of obedience, to listen with the ear of the heart.
Listening to the newsmakers and the noisemakers is pure distraction, just static on the radio. Distraction, in these solemn holy days, is a favorite trick of the Trickster.
Do not fall for it. Distraction has no rightful claim to your attention or mine.
Like Isaiah who sets his face like flint, like Peter stepping out of the boat toward his Lord, I urgently need to be clear about who deserves my attention: the One who is divine, merciful, costly LOVE poured out.
The world I touch is counting on the intensity of my commitment.
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Be well. Live in peace. Love one another.
Photo: The Prophet Isaiah (Wikimedia Commons)