I love trains! I hate flying! That was reinforced for me at 5 AM when I was informed we had to pay an additional $50 to check our bags. And while it was a no frills flight – it was not a discount airline. Now that I have that rant out of my system… I spent most of Saturday (from 5 am to 7 pm) on planes or in airports. Three flights on two airlines. So if I am a bit edgy you know why.

Our first flight was on a commuter puddle jumper from Rochester to Chicago. I discovered once again that in those confined spaces I am verging on claustrophobia. Our second leg, from Chicago to Seattle, was a larger plane and a longer flight. The final flight took us to Fairbanks, Alaska.

On each flight as the plane was leaving the gate the flight attendants asked for our attention and then gave the important safety lecture on where to find exits. One attendant almost pleaded for us to pay attention saying “Please, pay attention. This is important. This information may save your life.”  Yet most people on each of the flights were involved in conversation or reading and paid very little attention.

In much of scripture and especially in the Old Testament prophets and the book of Deuteronomy a great deal of time is spent trying to get God’s people to listen to God’s voice as spoken through prophets, angels, or events. And the people of God, like the passengers today, paid little heed. Other distractions seemed more pressing, more alluring, and more important.

We are surrounded by all sorts of sound and noise and yet we find it hard to listen. And even harder for us to listen for God’s voice.

As the flight attendant told us “Please pay attention. This is important.” Important! Important for our life with God, important for our joy, important for the living out of our life’s purpose (for we do this best when we involve God in the process).


About don

The Rev Don Hill is an Episcopal priest, rail fan and writer. He and his wife the Rev. Dr. Nancy Woodworth-Hill are currently Co-Pastors of St Paul's Episcopal Church, Jeffersonville IN, in the Diocese of Indianapolis. They also work as parish consultants in Appreciative Inquiry, strategic planning and spirituality development for parishes and vestries.
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