Recently, the sister of a friend of mine died. This was the first loss Jim experienced among his siblings. Mary Ann was 83. So it’s a bit remarkable that he only now experienced this special and difficult loss at a rather advanced time in his own life. The passing of a sibling has its own kind of grief.
He sent me the eulogy he was asked to offer. I wish I could share the whole preaching with you, and yes, it was a preaching, exquisitely written and it illuminated Jim’s own tender and beautiful heart.
A central idea that struck a chord in me still rings a few weeks later. Jim talked about the way his sister was formed, in fact, how all of his siblings were formed by their mother. Jim writes, “Mom showed Mary the importance of giving attention to every element in a work, whether it be in setting the dining room table for company, researching and authoring an academic thesis, or the care and treatment of every element in a recipe, no matter how humble the dish.
Be present in all things because that is where God is: Present”.
In all things, but especially in the small things, God is. When we look someone in the eye and make a connection. When we take that extra minute to really ask, how are you, and wait for an answer, no matter what the answer is. When attention is paid, God is: Present. I hope I never take that for granted.
As we care for the smallest of things, how our bed is made, the welcoming our spaces seem to others, how we greet someone, in the office, in the hall, on the phone. Paying attention opens us to a moment when love can come in, where God may be with us. God is with us. And isn’t that the heart of what it is to be a preacher of the Word? That our presence reflect God present.
Paying attention to small things asks that we not be rushed or judgmental, superior in station, or too busy to be bothered. Paying attention is full-time employment and sometimes very inconvenient. But it’s an important thing to remember that every day we get to start over, every day the invitation is given.
Be present in all things because that is where God is: Present. Thanks Jim. I needed that.