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Does God have your Attention?
Does anyone here ever listen to the blues? I just want to know what kind of company Im in this morning.... If not, do you ever get the blues? Well, its not very theological, but sometimes, listening to the blues helps when youve got the blues.
Am I masking any sense this morning? No, well, lets go with it anyway. Well get back to the blues in a bit.
Today, Josephs got the blues. I say this because Joseph has done his best. He married Mary, and is helping to raise Jesus. And the angel says, Wake up! Now Joseph has been working awfully hard at all of this, and as we noted a few weeks ago, he gave up his own dreams to do it. Just now Joseph is resting, but he has an angel; yelling in his ear. Lets listen to that angel in King James style:
Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
What do you suppose is going on in Josephs head? Something like: Excuse me God. I had a life. I gave that up. Im here in Nazareth working as hard as i can. If I leave all this, you know what happens to my business? Down the drain. It's not like I can put a sign on the door "Gone to Egypt, back for Herods funeral. Old Joseph is probably having quite a conversation with God.
One thing is for sure: God has his attention.
And thats where I want to go today: Does God have our attention? Well, does He?
I was talking with a friend a few weeks back, and he told me if God tried to get his attention, he just turned his hearing aid down. It was a joke. But it makes a point: What does God have to do to get our attention?
I was listening to the blues this week. I didnt actually have the blues, but sometimes listening to the blues can make you feel pretty good, even when youre just fine. Theres an artist named Kevin Moore, he goes by the name of Keb Mo. He says,
Well you might be saved You might be reborn You might own a car With A Big Loud Horn
Maybe its just news On your television Or it might be God trying to get your attention
I was thinking about God trying to get our attention here at St. James. I was wondering what it means to be a little country church in Hawaii in 1999. And to tell you the truth, I was wondering whether we had the blues.
There was a king who had the blues. This was a thousand years ago, and he probably called it something else.
King Henry III of Bavaria grew tired of court life and the pressures of being a monarch. Thats the blues. He made application to Prior Richard at a local monastery, asking to be accepted as a contemplative and spend the rest of his life in the monastery. "Your Majesty," said Prior Richard, "do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard because you have been a king."
"I understand," said Henry. "The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you."
"Then I will tell you what to do," said Prior Richard. "Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you." When King Henry died, a statement was written: "The King learned to rule by being obedient."
God got Henry IIIs attention by sending him to a monastery where they turned him right around and sent him back to work.
God got Josephs attention through an angel in his dream. And that got Joseph up on his feet and moving.
God gets our attention in about 1,000 different ways. A person we trust points us in a direction. A newspaper headline screams at us and we cant get it out of our minds. We read the story of a missionary and it moves us to tears. We sit by a dying friend and they show us a new way to live. Maybe we even hear the blues, and pay a little more attention to the world.
After WWII one of the big telegram companies was hiring wireless operators. Everyone came on the same day for an interview. A group of applicants paid little attention to the sound of the dots and dashes which began coming over a loudspeaker. Suddenly one of them rushed into the employer's office. Soon he returned smiling. "I got the job!" he exclaimed. "How did you get ahead of us?" everyone else asked? "You might have gotten it if you hadn't been so busy talking! The manager was tapping out a coded message," he told them. "It said, 'The person I need must always be on the alert. The first one who interprets this and comes directly into my private office will be hired.'" Sometimes God does work in coded messages. And I dont know morse code, so if anyone ever hears one, I hope you will share it with the rest of us. I am sure that most of the time God works in very subtle every day ways. And we need to listen, we need to be alert. Keb Mo said, Well it might be in the church house Or it might be on the street Somehow or another Every soul has got to meet
Might look like a plan Or a coalition Or it might be God trying to get your attention.
Does he have our attention?
Frank Schaefer, for JavaCasa Resources and the Desperate Preacher's Site, 1999