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December 12, 2016 | JOHN RAY


I’m sitting beside my dad typing this as Monday Night Football plays in front of us.

From the time I arrived (around 1:30 this afternoon) until now, I have answered

the following questions — no exaggeration — at least fifty times:


“When is Diane (my stepmom) leaving?”


“Where is she going?”


“Are you staying with me the whole time she is gone?”


“When will she get back?”


Often we would work through the questions and immediately start back at the beginning with little more than a breath

of a pause.


As a way of gently interrupting the loop of questions, I call attention to the game and talk about particular plays. One highlight came when a special teams player hurdled the center to block an attempted field goal. During the replay Dad chimed in,

“I did that once in a game in high school. I was playing linebacker and jumped clear over the center. I landed in

the backfield so fast I was able to intercept the handoff from the quarterback and ran it back 95 yards for a touchdown.

Big Momma (the nickname for his mom and my grandma) was so excited she said she wet herself watching."


Now think about this: The information that we’d repeated and rehearsed all day somehow didn’t  stick, but the specific details of one football play from probably 72 years ago, even the reaction his mom had to it, is clear.


“When is Diane leaving?”


This week, we are going to reflect on those specific memories that help frame our expectations of and engagement with God and, by extension, the Church. In order to be attentive, to be “looking in a Godward direction,” we need to consistently consider our past as well. As part of our practice this week, read Chapter 2 of The Attentive Life then find a quiet block of time to watch this. 

Afterward, ask yourself the following questions (journal your answers if that is your practice):


What is your first memory of “church”?

How have your concept and experience of God changed between then and now?


Identify three major experiences with God that help you understand your current relationship with God.  


After you have considered and answered the above questions, slowly pray the following prayer:

“Abba, you have always been. You have known me since before I could know myself.

You know me even in ways I cannot know, and one day I will experience being fully known by You.

Hold me in these moments so I might let go and rest, pay attention and know as I am known.”


Next Sunday morning we will gather with Grace Church @ 2828 North Crossover in Fayetteville. The service starts at 10:15(ish) but we will meet as families at 9:45 to have a “walk through,” a special time to share with the kids what to expect and why we do things the way we do, and to answer their questions.


Grace and peace, y’all,



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