Navigation #6

Slowing

Pastor ChrisRev. Christopher Chandler

Slowing: A desire to curb my addiction to busyness, hurry and workaholism.  Slowing is one way to overcome inner hurriedness… Through slowing, the sacrament of the present moment is tasted to the full.

– Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Author, “Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices that Transform Us

If you can’t take time to do nothing, you’re a slave to doing.  Doing nothing is a radical, revolutionary act. It frees you from the universal slavery of our age: slavery to the clock.  The clock measures doing but not being.

– Peter Kreeft, Ph.D, Boston College

This past summer, our family enjoyed some wondrous time in the mountains of North Carolina. Of course, as our family often does, we spent many hours hiking and enjoying the waterfalls, overlooks and scenery all around us. One afternoon, we took to the trails. About hour and a half into our excursion, we were crossing narrow log bridges and traversing up rocky and moist creek beds. The girls were very excited about this hike, so we decided one of them would be the leader.

When you’re 9 years old, you do not move very fast when you are climbing up or down countless slippery slopes. So I found an interesting thing happening: I kept going ahead of her. It was not like I had to get back for anything, because we were away for several days, and I had nothing else to do. But it was just the sheer programming of this world that had gotten into me. My daughter kept saying, “I know dad, I’m the leader. You’ve got to follow me. Don’t go ahead of me. Wait for me. You said I could lead.”

In hindsight, my daughter was leading me to a profound insight: If you want to follow someone, you cannot go faster than they are going. (I had to go to school for a long time to come up with that one.) I mean, that’s just very basic logic, isn’t it? If you want to follow somebody, you cannot go faster than the one whom you are following.

So folks, here’s the deal: Jesus is still looking for people who will follow Him. So, who will seize the opportunity and rearrange their lives around the things that He has arranged His life around? If you’re going to follow Jesus, if you’re going to walk in His steps, you cannot go faster than Him. Jesus never hurries; He never rushes. He even missed sitting by Lazarus’ side when Lazarus was on his deathbed.  You know in His life, Jesus actually was often very busy. He had many things to do, you see, but He never went any faster than He could go while remaining tethered and secured to His Father. He never hurried; He never rushed.

This Thanksgiving season, Jesus invites you to change your pace of life, to follow in His steps. Friends, go no faster than you can go when you are following in the steps of our Rabbi.

Spiritual exercises:

  1. Before you begin a meeting, allow time for people to become present. Say something like, “I want to give you a moment of silence to leave behind what you’re coming from. I want us to be present to each other in our discussion together.  Take some deep breathes and relax, and we will start in one minute.” If you are meeting with Christians, ask them to place in the Lord’s hands the things from which they are hurrying. Then have them offer their next engagement to the Lord. Slowly and intentionally, invite the entire group to be fully present in and to the moment, to each other and to the Lord.  After you have deliberately attended to becoming present, it is time to begin. *
  2. People who are rushed often feel anxious about their lives.  So when you wake up, before your head leaves the pillow, offer God three central concerns of the day. Ask Him to care for these things as you go about your daily tasks. When your worries creep into the forefront, return to the moment when you handed God your concerns.*

*Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, “Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices that Transform Us,” InterVarsity Press, 2005

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