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St Johns Southgate

07 Sep 2017

Focus

“Come on, focus!” I wonder if anyone has ever thrown that sentence at you?

Focus is an interesting word. We’ve come to understand it as having something to do with our concentration. To be focused on something, apparently means to give it your full attention. But is there more to “focus” than that?

Etymologically speaking, focus comes from a Latin word that refers to the hearth – the domestic fireplace. At first this might seem a bit odd. What’s the connection? What has a fireplace got to do with focus?

In our far too busy, media-soaked lives, there is always something competing for our attention and, in my opinion, it’s not doing us any good. In a simpler time, when after dark there was no light but the glowing coals of the hearth, there was something beyond the individual – our attention spans and neuroses – that necessarily had to be the focus.

The hearth was that focus. It gave individuals, couples and families the means by which to keep warm, to cook a hearty meal and to socialise after a long hard day. The hearth was the focus because being surrounded by darkness there was nowhere else to go!

Having a focus, in that ancient sense of it being something singular, essential and outside the realm of personal choice, might just be of benefit to us today. Finding a life-focus that can transport us from the anxiety of “what’s next?” or “what am I missing out on?” to a place of peace and calm can only be a good thing.

At St Johns we aim to provide such a place. A place where you can come to sit by the fire, so to speak, and focus not on the darkness that surrounds you, but the light that shines in front of you and radiates into your soul.

The great thing about our worship at St Johns is that it doesn’t depend on you to keep the fire going. It doesn’t require you to focus your attention. It’s an opportunity to come to a home you never knew you had – a home with a God who focuses his attention on you.

Home is where the hearth is. Maybe you’re being warmed by one already. If not, you’re always welcome to sit with us in front of ours.

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