Slow Down

Over the last weekend in December, I had the occasion to walk to church. For me, that means walking past the front lawn of the church.
     Sometimes it is good to travel at a slow pace because then you can see the details that you miss when you travel fast.  As I walked by the front lawn, I noticed dozens of dandelions in bloom, all nestled securely in the dead grass of the front lawn.  Sure, dandelions are hardy, but still, I was quite surprised to see anything in bloom in December in Elmira, NY. They were so imbedded in the dead grass that had I been traveling any faster than what my own two feet can go, I would have missed them.
    I wonder what of the activity of the Holy Spirit and the presence of God we miss because we speed through life. Is the person who stops by your work to chat an interruption in an already busy day or an angel sent by God to show you the love of God?  Is the recent snow storm just another weather event or is it an invitation by the Holy Spirit to help a neighbor, play with the kids or just enjoy the beauty of the earth? Is the call to serve in some capacity a duty or is it a chance to experience how faith, hope and love really work?  How you see these experiences may depend on how fast you are traveling through life.
    When Elijah ran for his life at high speed, trying to get away from Jezebel who was determined to kill him, Elijah found himself alone in the desert.  The Lord came to him and said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”  Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.  The Lord was in the gentle whisper.  (I Kings 19:11-13)
    Had Elijah still been running fast, he would have missed hearing the Lord. Or perhaps he would have mistakenly thought that the Lord was in the wind, the earthquake and the fire, which would probably have been the only thing that would have had a chance to catch his attention while he was moving at high speed.
    What does it take for you to slow down enough so that you might see, hear and experience God?  Even when you do slow down, have you thought to look for God even in the midst of circumstances that are like the dead grass on the front lawn of the church or like Elijah running in the desert?  God is there!  God is here!  That’s what we mean when we say “Emmanuel,” which means “God with us”!

~The Rev. Dr. Betsey R. Crimmins