Genesis 13:14-18 (NRSV)
14 The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; 15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. 17 Rise up, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” 18 So Abram moved his tent, and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron; and there he built an altar to the Lord.
Lately I have been noticing how often when I am walking somewhere or waiting for something I am looking at my phone. It is habit. I start my way out the door and immediately reach into my pocket to grab what has become so familiar in my hand. As I walk, I check my texts and my facebook page. I look up this or that. When I am waiting for something or someone, it is even worse. It is almost as if I can’t take the moment to see what is around me, who is around me, what is going on, or even pay attention to what is going on in me.
Last April I had the opportunity to travel to Cuba with a group of clergy women. At first, the most distressing part of the trip was not getting there but knowing that once I got there, I was cut off from my forms of communication. There is hardly any wireless in Cuba and definitely not the cell phone support for me to continue logging on. I was worried about the church and my fiance at the time…what if they needed me? What if I needed them? How would I let my family know that I was where I needed to be? Plus…without FACEBOOK FOR A WHOLE 10 DAYS??? Whaaaa? Here is what I discovered….
1. The world still continued on even without me updating the facespace (as we call it around here sometimes).
2. I was ok without constant communication.
3. I actually had time to think about what was going on in me.
4. During those times of waiting or going from location to location, people talked to each other OR we paid attention to our surroundings.
At one point, we went to the ballet. It was one of the most moving experiences in the arts that I have had and in between numbers, people turned and talked to one another about what they had just seen. They didn’t immediately reach for their pockets and put it on facebook or tune out for a moment. We all lived into the moment much more with each other. It was an incredible moment to be in. And we knew it and processed it and loved it.
God tells Abram…look up now. Look around and see God’s goodness and what God is promising to the people. God pulls Abram’s eyes out of the nitty gritty of the moment to see further. While Abram didn’t have a cell phone he could certainly get lots in the details of right now and conflict and unrest..instead, God says you have to raise your eyes to see. Look above what we are mired in. Zoom out to see what is beautiful before you. Look all around.
We are called to look up today..not get bogged down…not get mired in the mess. What is God placing before you?
PS. The pic above is from Improv Everywhere. This is one of their first “pranks” called Look Up More. It is a great video if you want to google it. 🙂