So there was this era called Covid-19 where the entire world was told to focus on this one thing all at the same time. Everyone had to have an opinion, had to take an action and had to ruin family get togethers based on this one topic.
Social media accounts were dedicated to it, people practically switched party affiliations due to it, and overall it left many in a state of confusion, distrust and fear.
I write this in such a way because I think people are going to be reading my blog years, even decades from now and need to be reminded of this event in history. That’s how important I think this site is at times. Also who knows, what comes next decades from now could be so cataclysmic people legit forget about Covid-19. But I digress.
It’s quite something to get the whole world to focus on one thing.
It’s really something to get one person to focus on one thing.
A friend of mine recently passed along The Bible Project’s series about the Shema. The Shema is a prayer found in Deuteronomy which became an important daily prayer for the Jewish community.
Right off the bat there’s a word, hear, which is shema. It’s definition in Hebrew is broader than what we would normally associate with the word hear. As The Bible Project itself states, “the opening line, “Hear, O Israel,” does not simply mean to let sound waves enter your ears.” No, shema means listen as in pay attention! There is an urgency, an importance to what’s about to be said. So pay attention.
It’s also revealed that in Hebrew listen or pay attention meant to do something as well. The act of listening could be seen as action in and of itself, but more so, listening implies something has to be done. Or else, why is someone telling you something to begin with?
All this context makes me realize increasingly just how important the object of our attention is. I used the Covid example above because there’s no doubt it’s forced the world to listen up, to pay attention, to do something about this. There are of course other world or world-as-we-know-it events throughout history which made people spend all their attention on X.
God here is saying what’s about to be said is so important I need you to really think about what’s going on here, what I am trying to address:
4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.Deuteronomy 6:4-5
I think I’ll write a sentence to this effect over and over on this site, but:
What we dedicate our attention to is what we become more and more like.
If we are focusing 24 hours on the problems of the world, we become the problems of the world.
Am I suggesting ignorance as a solution? No, not at all. But I am, and I think God is pointing us in the direction of, participating in actions which fully restore us.
I’d argue all it takes is 10 minutes straight of problem ruminating to plummet us into the depths of despair, the depths of hell itself. Hell gazing, ruin porn, disaster fixation, it all adds up, even TikTok speed runs of less than a minute.
The jarring edict to pay attention to that which will heal us, that which will restore us, that which gives us life and life abundant is because there is a train wreck over there. There is a pandemic on the horizon. There are hurting people abused by systems they were born into.
But listen up. Pay attention to the One who is a Man of Sorrows. There’s no need to ruminate on what’s wrong and broken unless we want to remain wrong, wronged, broken and capable of breaking.