Three years ago a book caught my eye titled The Mystery of 2012: Predictions, Prophecies, & Possibilities. I had just seen a special on the History Channel about Nostradamus and his prophecies concerning the year 2012, so I couldn’t resist the intrigue. I bought the book and immediately began reading it.
Here’s an excerpt from the introduction: “Highly intelligent and serious spiritual practitioners…believe that 2012 offers a ‘gateway of possibility,’ an opportunity for awakening that requires our immediate attention…If there was ever a time to investigate the possibilities of 2012 and prepare ourselves for its opportunities, that time is clearly now.”
Well, this will be problematic for us because of our addiction to all forms of media. We are “always on” and consequently can’t fathom living 15 minutes without access to our personal electronics. One psychologist submits this rhetorical question: “If our minds are always worrying about what we are missing then how can we focus attention on what we are getting?”
In Maggie Jackson’s exceptional book Distracted, she points out, “We can tap into 50 million Web sites, 1.8 million books in print, 75 million blogs, and other snowstorms of information, but we increasingly seek knowledge in Google searches and Yahoo! Headlines that we gulp on the run while juggling other tasks.”
She concludes, “In this world, something is amiss. And that something is attention.” Her thesis states, “The way we live is eroding our capacity for deep, sustained, perceptive attention—the building block of intimacy, wisdom, and cultural progress…Put most simply, attention defines us and is the bedrock of society.”
Why did I bring the subject of attention to your attention? Because 2012 “requires our immediate attention,” remember? The publisher assures the reader, “In this book, 2012 is most often described as a choice point, a time of intensified possibility and opportunity, rather than an apocalyptic time bomb destined to explode at midnight on December 31, 2012. What these visionaries are calling us to do as we investigate 2012 is to be intensely alert, responsive, and creatively engaged with the possibilities that may be unfolding around us.”
One author of the book offers this advice: “To change the way we live, we must change the way we believe.” Well, the Apostle Paul would agree with this approach. In Romans 12:2 he writes, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think…”
Unsettling to me is an author’s admission that “The global crisis we are now facing is, at its root, a crisis of consciousness—a crisis born of the fact that we have prodigious technological powers but still remain half-awake. We need to awaken to who we are and what we really want…We are, after all, our only hope.” Mankind is our only hope? I hope not!
Proverbs 16:25 says, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” God gives mankind a clear choice in Deuteronomy 30:19: “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants…”
The old adage applies here: “I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know Who holds the future.” Every day is a “choice point” for all of us. “Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7). Please read Hebrews 2:1-4; 6:9-12; 9:27-28.
According to some scholars, the root lig in the word religion means “to pay attention.” If so, from its very definition, religion helps us learn to pay attention to God, to people, and to life. William Blake believes you become what you behold. Scripture agrees.
According to Scripture, God has “made known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). The Apostle Peter weighs in with sage advice, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). While 2012 may be full of mystery for some, Christians should pay attention to the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Hank Lamb is senior pastor of Central Christian Church in Richardson.