How often you stop and listen? Not for anything specific, but just listen to see what you can hear. It is amazing what you notice when you just sit and open yourself up.
Right now, I am sitting here in the church office listening. I am listening to the sounds of children playing. I can hear them laughing. I can hear them meeting new friends. I can hear the excitement in their voices at what this summer may bring. They are truly having a grand time!
The YMCA Summer Day-Camp started this week and we have about 140 children using this campus. Out of my back window I can hear the subdued talking of some very introspective youth sitting under the oak trees in the southwest corner. I can hear another group catching their breath in the shade by our picnic tables, after a very active and exciting time on the playground.
Earlier today, as I walked by the education building, I could hear the conversations of one group, during their enrichment time, talking about the five YMCA core values; honesty, caring, respect, responsibility, and faith. Yet another group I could hear in the big room on the end of the educational building cutting paper and making ghost noises as they constructed masks during their arts and crafts time.
In the kitchen, I can hear the Marion County Food Service staff members actively getting ready to serve a hot lunch for these kids and any other child of Marion County. Over the sounds of their preparation, I can hear them laughing and enjoying being here for the children.
This whole campus is magnificently filled with activity, enthusiasm, excitement, and joy.
As I witness all of this I cannot help but feel the working and movement of the Holy Spirit here in our midst. This feeling is coursing through me and the goose bumps are running up and down my arms! Do you remember during worship on Sunday who I told you was responsible during those times when you feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up or the goose bumps on your arms grow? If you need some reminding it starts with Holy and ends with Spirit. THE HOLY SPIRIT!
I could easily allow myself to get so busy with the work here at the church, or the thoughts of the visitations I would like to do, or the task of completing my ordination paperwork, and totally overlook what is happening. How sad would that be! Or, I can take time to notice God at work.
At my home I have a wall of pictures from the trip Debbie and I took to the Holy Land. These pictures speak to us about God's work in humanity. We felt an incredibly strong connection to God over there. It was like that veil between Heaven and Earth was very thin during our time there. At the top of the wall, above those pictures, are the words from Psalm 46:10, Be still and know that I am God.
So I encourage you all to take time and be still. Be still and listen. Listen openly. Listen expectantly. Listen closely. God is at work. All we need to do is take time to notice and when you do...I guarantee you will be in awe!
Have a great week and see you Sunday!