[ On July 5-7, The Ekklesia Project will hold its annual gathering in Chicago, which will be on the theme of Slow Church. Between now and July, we will be running a series of lguest reflections here by folks connected with the E.P. We’ve asked guest posters to reflect on the meaning of Slow Church from their own local contexts. More info on the E.P. gathering. ]
Today’s reflection, the fifth in the series, is by Susan Adams.
In our beloved and oh, so slow discussions on Sunday nights at Englewood, we often like to play with a metaphor to help us unpack the hidden implications of a topic. A few years back, we compared church membership covenants to marriage vows. We spent several Sunday evenings last fall thinking about how a healthy community is a lot like rich, healthy soil or compost. (Wow, was that puzzling to a few folks who wandered into our discussion a couple of weeks into the process to find us talking about biodiversity versus monoculture agricultural practices!)
Today, I invite you to consider slowness today as you listen to the andante-paced, beautifully poetic meditation spoken by Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast. He urges us to slow down and open our eyes. One of my favorite lines is this: “Begin by opening your eyes, and be surprised that you have eyes you can open.” Brother David reminds us to open our eyes, open our hearts, and drink deeply from the incredible gifts given to us in creation and in civilization as he marvels over small things we daily take for granted. Brother David says our grateful hearts will overflow into blessing those around us only as we choose to carefully, thoughtfully spend the gift of today-a day to be spent as wisely and exuberantly as if it were our first AND our last.
Brother David’s meditation accompanies a breath-taking array of still and moving images by the renowned Louie Schwartzberg’s visually stunning time-lapse photography and a delicate musical backdrop. It is a virtual feast for your eyes and a staggering reminder of the simple and enormous beauty of our world and its inhabitants. You will need to watch this video several times because there is so much to see and hear your heart and brain will feel a bit overwhelmed. Enjoy. Relish. Rejoice. Give grateful praise to our Good God for providing all things great and small for us to see and ponder. Then watch this with a group of friends and talk about it slowly and patiently, allowing your thoughts to unfold gently as the time-lapse flowers do in the video.
There is so much to talk and think about together. Thankfully, as our brother here at Englewood, Jim Aldrich, likes to remind us, we have the rest of our lives to talk about it. Let’s slow down and not waste this precious time by talking about anything less important than considering together Christ’s inbreaking kingdom and all of this glorious creation being reconciled to God.
Susan Adams is a member of Englewood Christian Church (Indianapolis) and teaches at Butler University.