Have you heard of the slow food movement? Here is a quote from the beginning of its manifesto:
Our century, which began and has developed under the insignia of industrial civilization, first invented the machine and then took it as its life model. We are enslaved by speed and have all succumbed to the same insidious virus: Fast Life, which disrupts our habits, pervades the privacy of our homes and forces us to eat Fast Foods . . . Through tastings, workshops and social opportunities, we explore and celebrate the Slow life.
Outside our church building we have a banner that says: feed my sheep. You might think that is just about feeding the people who come to the food pantry for food, but it’s also our protest against our fast food nation and an invitation to participate in the Slow Life.
Like the slow food movement, we believe the fast pace and busyness of our lives is destructive to our well-being and to the well-being of our communities.
We invite people to step away from the “fast life,” slow down to remember who we are, who we are created to be, remember our hopes and dreams, gather to do simple things: listen to a Word from outside us, sit in silence, sing and break bread together, be astonished at the companions who are willing to share the journey. No quick fixes or instant gratification here but like the slow food movement, a slow tending to our lives and the life of community.
It’s a counter-cultural thing to do these days. In the 16th century Martin Luther, after whom the Lutheran Church was named, wrote “I have so much to do I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”
We can relate to the first part – so much to do, but probably not the second part. We’re more apt to say, “I have so much to do; who has time for church?”
But we think Martin Luther’s words are what the church has to offer – to come away from the busyness of life which so often gets in the way of experiencing and living life to its fullness. We think it is a hopeful thing to have the church return to its original reality of being a counter-cultural reality – to set aside time every week to worship, to gather with other people who are not necessarily like us, to contemplate our lives, the world, and this God that so many have trouble believing exists. In our fast-paced, too busy lives, we invite you to step away with us and hear again the promises of abundant life.
The Rev. Dianne O. Loufman