Hurry up and wait. That was the constant driving force behind everything I used to do when I worked as an engineer offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Time was money and thus time was an expensive commodity and it was always in short supply. Everyone working on a drilling rig is ready and essentially standing by waiting for another person to get their job done so that we can start our own. Of course this meant that there was someone else who was waiting on us to finish whatever we were flown out by helicopter to the rig to do.
Everyone was always in a hurry. Everyone was waiting for their turn to do what nobody else could do. The pace was fast and it was furious. It was also relentless. I’d no sooner finished the job that I was doing before it was time for me to catch a flight back to land only to fly out the next morning to Another rig somewhere in the Gulf.
Most of us understand what it feels like when the pace of our lives is running at light speed. The faster we go the more likely we are to make a mistake. When we find ourselves ensnared in such a system we look for an exit off-ramp or a way to step away and simply catch our breath.
Think about the culture we find ourselves living in today. The Christmas decorations have been out in places like Lowe’s since Labor Day in September. Retailers are well aware that the number of shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas are fewer than usual. Hence the artificial sense of urgency to try and cram even more into the short Advent Season.
Feeling overbooked? Don’t think you could find room on your social calendar for another party? Haven’t sent out your Christmas cards yet? Still have gifts to buy, stockings to fill and a house to decorate? Looking forward to having dinner with family members who want to pick political fights? Don’t forget about putting up all the many outdoor lights so you can rival your neighbors and double your electric bill.
What if you could actually get away from it all even for just 30 minutes? What if you could do something that would feed your soul instead of sap your energy? Along with my clergy colleagues at First Methodist and First Presbyterian, we are offering you such a spiritual respite. You don’t have to do anything but show up. You don’t need to buy a new party outfit. You don’t have to bake or cook anything to share. You just have to come and be still for thirty minutes.
At 6:00 PM on the first three Mondays in Advent, December 4th, 11th, and 18th, our three churches will offer you a time and a place to step back from the hurry up and wait syndrome. As Psalm 46 states, “We are to be still and know that God is God.” So come and join us and just be still. Let the sounds of the choir soothe your weary body. Let the quiet of three houses of worship open you up to welcoming the presence of God during the Season of Advent. Allow the words of the prayers that will be offered open you up to more than the chaotic rush of the world.
I invite you to join us and give yourself a gift and be still to know that God really is God.
God’s Peace, Mark+