“Come as you are”
We want you to feel at home with us. Casual or dressy? We want you to be comfortable, whether it be heels or tennis shoes, suit or t-shirt. We’re just glad to see you.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
A Message for March from Pastor Mike
‘The Pace of Grace’
Reclining on a faded white pvc pipe weatherproof lounge chair, the divet of so many others who have sat in the same spot made him feel comfortable even though the padding had long worn out. I watched him, the same man I had seen for years, now a shade different, with his thick shock of white hair and sheepish new wrinkles around his eyes.
We had a routine, my dad and I. To rise before reason or logic had stretched their bony opinions to tell us otherwise, make a good espresso, and slowly saunter in our words together, about books and theology and the politics of the day, as if we were well informed.
He, a corporate consultant flying hither and thither to put out the fires that other people had created. And I, a pastor in the making, half-baked to be more precise, with just enough knowledge to be dangerous but not enough experience to know where the dangers lay. It was only for an hour or so. But those slow sipping poolside conversations were the abrupt halt that our minds and souls needed to recuperate.
People say that, due to our technological advancements, we are living faster than those before us. In point of fact that truth seems rather self-evident. But laced within that assertion is a false assumption, that those before us who lived in ‘slower times’ didn’t feel themselves stretched and strained by the rapid demands of their day. A close look at history will tell us otherwise.
Whether we are a business manager in a warehouse, a clerk in a grocery store, a farmer in the 17th century, or a soldier in the Vietnam War, people have tended to always live at a pace that moves them briskly past their own wellbeing.
In a book entitled ‘An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest’, the author, Alan Fadling, speaks to this internal and external pace into which we default; and the effects it can have on our relationship with Jesus. And maybe you find yourself there too.
Whether we’re past enjoying retirement and now in the doldrums of trying to find a reason to get out of bed in the morning beyond the fact that such a thing is the norm. Or whether we’re feeling consumed with drama and meetings, home projects and event planning for babies and weddings and birthdays galore. The risk we run at both ends of the spectrum, hurried or not, is missing what Fadling calls, “the pace of grace”.
A tempo that beats not to the drums of the calendar or conference call, but to the pumping heart of Jesus who is present with us. A focus that turns out to be, ironically, more productive, by letting go of the very thing we’re striving for and letting God be God. A reliance upon the present Lordship of Jesus Christ that uncovers formerly unseen caverns of gem-like beauty in our friendship with him.
So instead of a Yoda-esque, “May the force be with you.” I wish you a Gospel-esque, “May the pace of Jesus’ grace befriend you”. And then we will experience together the fresh truth of that old hymn, “tis so sweet to trust in Jesus”.
Pastor Mike Lyle