This last weekend Tom and I visited Camano Island where the cross beams on our first Mustard Seed Village building is being installed. It is another small but exciting milestone but progress seems so slow. Yet because of that slowness it is all the more valuable and the unexpected rewards of new friends, new vision and new possibilities is amazing.
We live in a world that tells us fast paced action is the only way to go, yet slow is often better. We now have slow food movements, slow parenting movements, slow church movements and slow money movements. Chris Smith, commented in an article for Sojourner’s magazine last year:
Slow movements are beginning to recover what we have lost in our relentless pursuit of efficiency. Many Christians have been challenged by these Slow movements to consider the ways in which our faith has begun to move too fast as we make sacrifices to the gods of efficiency.
This quest has sparked a renewed interest in the joys of sharing life together in local congregations and has intensified into a growing conversation—rather than a movement—called Slow Church. Slowness itself is not a cardinal virtue of Slow Church, but rather a means of resisting the present-day powers of speed in order to be faithful church communities.
The psalmist too reminds us: Be still and know that I am God (psalm 46:10). Part of what I am learning in this season of slow building and slow transition is to do just that. I need to slow down, to take notice and to respond to the God who longs for my full attention. I encourage all of us to think about how we can do this as we head into the busy Advent and Christmas seasons.
Ask yourself: What am I doing to resist the present day powers of speed? What am I doing to prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ and the longed for coming of God’s eternal world?
These are questions I will probably challenge us with frequently in the next couple of weeks because I think this is an urgent need for all of us. I meet too many stressed out over indulgent Christmas celebrators who wished they knew how to unplug the Christmas machine.
Tom and I are preparing by going on one of quarterly prayer retreats next week. In November I will facilitate two retreats here in Seattle that offer opportunity for slow down and reflection. Exploring the Impact of Simple Living for the Overflow Project and Stop the Madness: Return to Our Senses in Advent. If you cannot attend one of these consider going on your own retreat. Or perhaps there is another way you plan to prepare – I would love to hear from you.