Being Present

Read John 5: 1-18

Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. In these lay many invalids - blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw hum lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be made well?" The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me." Jesus said to him, "Stand up, take your mat and walk." At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. John 5: 2-9 (NRSV)

Christian Coon is from Illinois. Each Saturday morning a men's group from the church where he is a pastor meets for breakfast at a local restaurant. It's an opportunity for men to talk honestly about their faith and the issues they face.

Christian enjoys these gatherings, but at times his mind is everywhere except the group's conversations. He gets concerned that people can't hear one another, he worries that new people in the group may feel left out, and he often watches the restaurant staff, hoping they don't mind that they're lingering and taking up a few tables. His focus on why they're gathering - faith formation and relationship development - gets lost.

In scripture we see that Jesus was focused and knew that God was present in all situations. The phrases "Jesus saw" and "Jesus looked" appear dozens of times in the Bible. And in today's reading, Jesus was surrounded by people and noise and yet was able to truly see one man. Nothing else mattered to Jesus except that interaction.

So many things distract us from focusing on the present moment. Let us learn from Jesus not to miss the opportunities that God places before us every hour of every day.

Prayer: Creator God, help us to slow down, focus on what's in front of us, and experience your love here and now, in Jesus' name, amen.

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