My how things have changed. I remember my father taking a whole weekend to untangle Christmas lights from the large cardboard attic boxes that held them captive in a knotty mess until December. Now, ’tis the season where people can now project an array of lights from a little magical box. To each his own.
While we don’t have such a magic projection box, my heart has been pondering on spotlights of late.
Beams of Attention
A few month back, I read an old tattered book by Keith Greene, and one little nugget contained therein planted itself in my soul. Greene likened his focused attention as a beam or spotlight, as seen below.
“It is as our attention were a powerful spotlight, the beam of which God lets us direct. We can shine the beam off into the past or future or into the eyes of the people around us in the present…I began to see that agape love rides down the beam of our attention into people’s hearts.”
It is a challenging thought to think about agape love sliding down the beams of our attention. We live in a culture largely known for its short attention spans, and we house hearts whose attention beams tends to continually reorient around self. As such, it seems that much agape love that could be sliding from the Father of lights down the beams of our attention to a desperately needy world never arrives.
Focusing Scattered Beams
For the past few days, I have been forcing myself to think about where and for how long I am focusing the spotlight of my attention. Rather than scanning over the horizon of the news, I allowed the Lord to focus my attention beam on the situation down at the border. While I recognize that it is a complex problem, the Lord allowed me to cry tears of sadness and buy some sleeping bags to be delivered by a friend. While it felt like the smallest thing, I felt a little agape love slide down the beam through friends to some soaking wet asylum-seekers at the border.
Rather than be utterly overwhelmed by the sheer number of women at our Church, I am asking the Lord to give me a few women upon whom I might focus my attention beam this holiday season.
At home, I find myself scanning a yard that needs some TLC, a pile of laundry and a pathetic pantry. When I catch the beams of my attention dissipating into a spectrum of to-do lists, I have been asking the Lord to let my beam of attention linger a little longer on the hearts in our home rather than the domestic duties.
But more than anything, I have been found myself wondering at the multi-faceted, multi-colored, constantly radiating beams of agape attention that God directs at me. That the God who created the sun and lightwaves and the spectrum of visible and invisible light would set His affection on anyone is shocking. That He would set it upon me, one who constantly fritters my attention on self and shimmery fool’s gold, is even more shocking.
The Beams of the Father
When I read through the Gospels, I see a Christ who consistently focused the beams of agape love that He received constantly on whomever was set before Him. A poor widow. A wealthy, woeful centurion. A pack of crazy kids. A crowd of hungry paupers. A suspect tax collector. Christ was able to radiate what He received by consistently relying upon the approval of His heavenly Father. More than the strange star that had indicated his birth beamed, the beams of God’s love perpetually warmed the Son.
Yet, in those painful hours on that horrible hill, the beam of favor turned away from Him. All was darkness, within and without, to the end that the beams of God’s favor might be set once again on those who would call upon Him.
The spotlight that the Son deserves has been turned upon those who look up to Him for deliverance. The children of light, those who receive the steady spotlight of the Father, are invited to focus the light they have received into the lives of those still in darkness.
May we know the fullness of the beams of His favor towards us. May the beams of our attention bring Him glory this season. Amen.