Wait a minute, hang on a second. Press the pause button. Behold.
Every once in awhile, a word in the Bible pops out and seems to shout at me. Usually, I have passed over this word many times before and just missed it. Then out of the blue, the word stands out asking to be acknowledged and understood.
The latest word to do this to me is the word “behold”.
Funny thing is that it is found in numerous places all over Scripture. Essentially it means ‘stop everything for a moment in order to fix our complete attention upon someone or something’. It’s like God wants to get our attention. God wants to interrupt us and get a word in. The Psalmist reminds us to pause (behold) God’s providence (Psalm 46:8) and God’s presence (Psalm 133: 1) and God’s present help (Psalm 54:4).
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus regularly says “behold”, wait a minute, it’s time to pay attention to what God is doing or saying.
“Beholding” is a spiritual art, a pastoral attitude that takes time to see life reverently, gratefully and alertly. Those who behold recognise that speed can be the enemy of a life that is entered on loving God and others. As a busy person, I am learning slowly the need to pause between meetings, phone calls and emails and quietly listen and pray.
I need to remind myself that Christ followers are not called to rule or be rude, but to serve and smile.
Beholding helps me pray in the car park and in the bathroom, or in the shops or on the street, before racing on to my next assignment. Beholding can be as difficult or as simple as “casting all your cares on God because God cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
How are you beholding?
Rev Steve Francis
Moderator, Uniting Church WA