I love movies, books and certain television shows. This is no surprise for those who know me. What generally surprises people, even those who do know me, is that I keep looking for faith stories in secular media. In fact, I seldom watch Christian movies, television shows or books (exception is the Bible and theological periodicals).
One of my “God at Movies” students asked me if I saw Jesus in every movie I watched. No, I said, but I do pay attention. I don’t even know I am looking for Gospel images or storylines in media anymore. I just pay attention.
What I have found is that most of the time we are not paying attention to the world around us. We may be looking, but we don’t see. I do get cranky about media and ministries that keep asking if you have found Jesus, or that they are finding Jesus. Here is my snarky response: “I didn’t know he was lost!”
Paying attention is what I do.
I look and listen for those moments when God reveals himself in the ordinary or extraordinary events of life. Some of the best viewing of God in our lives is when I watch children. I believe Jesus was serious when he said: “Let the children come to me for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven!” For some reason, I see Jesus hanging out with kids more than adults.
I see God in the stories of human compassion and kindness. I see the face of Christ in the man, woman or youth who forget themselves and attended to the needs of others. I cannot help but cry when I hear or see a story that tells of people who embrace those that others have rejected, or who have befriended those who could be seen as their enemies.
God is in our midst through the people and happenings of our daily lives.
The Apostle Paul writes: “Jews look for miracles and Greeks (non-Jews) look to understand mysteries, but we see through the eyes of faith.” If we believe God is alive and well and living in, with and through us, then, if we are paying attention, we will experience God’s presence.
Maybe we see Christ in the man who pays for coffee and donuts for a woman who is searching in her purse for her wallet – with a child in her arms and the other two wandering to parts unknown. It could be that God is working through the child who holds the hand of another child, because it is scary to go up in front of others by yourself. God’s love could be sitting right in front of you as you drink your morning coffee with your spouse.
The Spirit of God is telling us a story of God’s love, for us, every day, in so many ways. We just need to pay attention!
(See John 9:35-38)