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Message from Pastor Luke

posted Jan 11, 2019, 6:24 AM by Luke Schmidt   [ updated Jan 11, 2019, 6:24 AM ]

I’m writing this article a week before Christmas, but by the time you get it, Christmas will have come and gone for another year. I’m assuming it went by too quickly. I know it does for me every year. I feel like when I was growing up, time seemed to slow down around this time of year. It was almost as if we had endless days for sledding and hot cocoa and cookie baking and present wrapping. Caroling and decorating and Christmas programs seem like they move in slow motion in my memories. It turns out, there is a reason for that. Unlike our other senses, smell and taste and touch and the like, our ‘sense’ of time isn’t something we sense at all. Rather, time is perceived. So how does that play out?

When we do something new, there is a lot for us to process. So, the longer it takes for us to process it, the longer that period of time feels. If you drive down the road you’ve driven to work for the last 10 years, chances are there are whole stretches that you don’t remember each day. Yet, if something out of the ordinary happens, someone swerves toward you or you hit an icy patch, you register and record that in your brain. You paid greater attention and it seems like it happened in slow motion when you look back on it. That’s how you remember it. On the other hand, if you do something the same all the time and don’t really need to process anything new, time seems to move faster. Your brain isn’t working hard so it is processing time faster. Confused yet? Think of it like a wood chipper. Smaller branches are like routine tasks, they get chewed through pretty quickly. New experiences are like big old logs. It takes longer to chew through them, it seems to take forever. Essentially, the more attention we give to something, the more of our focus it demands, the longer it seems to last. Want to make something special last longer? Pay more attention to it! Devote more of your energy and focus to it. For you younger folks, put down the phones, and I’ll include myself in that. Don’t let the days fly by because we are doing many things but giving very few of them the attention they deserve.

So, what does this understanding of time mean in our faith life? I believe we are called to give God the time and attention He deserves. There is a reason we use different liturgies and prayers and hymns - because they require our focus, they require our attention. God should be getting that in worship. Our prayer life at home is incredibly prone to distractions and fleeting thoughts. God should get our undistracted time in conversation. Read your bible. Really read it. Make a plan for how you will dig in, start with the Gospel of Luke as we will be focusing there for the next year in worship and preaching. Pretend you haven’t read those stories before, look at them with new eyes. They will sink in and speak to you in whole new ways.

If you want the superpower of being able to slow down time, you simply need to give the things that matter more of your undivided attention. Take the time to look for God throughout your days and months in 2019. Even the little things that have often seemed mundane or ordinary will show the fingerprints of God. He is in all things, but can we slow down enough to see and appreciate it? Remember, time is perception. You can literally make time for things in life. Just focus

I really do pray that we can all slow down in 2019, that we can focus our attention on the things and the people that matter, and that we will be awestruck by the new and powerful ways God makes himself known to us.