Sometimes the captain of a ship will give the order, "Full stop!" It is a very simple command telling the crew to shut off the propellers (screws) so that the vessel no longer is generating propulsion. However, it can take some time for the ship to come to a complete stop because of its size and momentum, especially as it is traversing the sea. It's not like our cars where we can hit the brakes and stop fairly quickly. Some massive ships take 30 minutes before they come to a complete halt.
As we come to the summer in the church so an order of "Full Stop" is not necessarily given, but we do slow down. It is called Ordinary Time in the church calendar, and we don't have any significant religious celebrations or events that will be occurring, other than fellowship activities. Like a ship with the propulsion disabled, so we shall drift with the currents for the next few months. I
n our spiritual exercises it's important sometimes just to allow our minds to coast. We are bombarded with thoughts and activity from so many directions. There is so much to ponder and consider. Sometimes we need to give ourselves the command of a Full Stop. Even when we're drifting, we're still moving, just at a slower pace........ and with a better sense of peace and perspective possibly.
If commanding yourself to a Full Stop does not work, then an equally effective tool is telling yourself to Shut Up. Here's to a nice summer drift for all of us!
Forward Movement, a ministry of the Episcopal Church, grew out of the determination of the General Convention in 1934 to counter a period of anxiety, distrust, and decline in the Episcopal Church with a "forward movement" charged to "reinvigorate the life of the church and to rehabilitate its general, diocesan, and parochial work." Daily meditation is available online by clicking HERE.
In looking at my wrist watch recently, I realized it looked like my grandfather's. It was only 13 years old, but it seemed a relic compared to the new smart watches. As I do not own an I-phone so I purchased the equivalent for a Droid. (I was pleased I could go to Walmart and save $100 from the Verizon store cost.)
What a waste! Now instead of being distracted by my phone with notification sounds, I get distractions from my phone and wrist. I guess I am better off in that I will never have to buy a battery for it...........but I do have to charge it every night. If I do not turn my wrist in just the right manner and speed, then I have to press a button to see what time it is. Sometimes, too, the display reads the time from the last instance when I pressed the button, so it takes two seconds to adjust to the new time. (That does not help on Sunday mornings when seconds count!) Finally, as long as I am conscious, I do not need to know my heart rate; and the number of steps taken from my car to the front door of the church is not pertinent information for me.
The good news? The display is bright, and I can actually make out the information relating to the date. That was not possible with my other wrist watch because of my aging eyes.
As I hear of the gadgets we can purchase to control the thermostats in our homes, select television shows, run our vacuum cleaners, etc; so I wonder if our modern culture has lost its mind. Will our children's children know how to manually set a thermostat? (Will they be able to imagine that central heat and air did not exist until the 1960's?) Will folks suffer extreme anxiety when their smart watches break, and they have to rely solely on their smart phones? It seems we are adding layers of complexity to our lives in order to make them simpler, which is quite bizarre behavior.
The gospel message is simple: We are sinners needing redemption, and God grants it, so we live in gratitude loving God and neighbor as best as we can. Can that simplicity become complicated? Apparently so - just drive down Gallatin Road and count the different denominations of churches.