Words little children often hear as they go racing through the yard or pedaling wildly down the street… but good words to offer! Words of caution and care…. words of warning and wisdom. Sometimes we all need to hear these loving words whether from someone who cares for us or from within ourselves! Slow down… not only as we exceed the speed limit on the highway but also as we overload our schedules with commitments. Slow down… when we rush to irrational conclusions as our minds race or to impulsive action as our adrenaline kicks in. It’s not always easy to do, even possible to do, but it helps us when we can slow down.
Many years ago Presbyterian pastor Graham Standish published a book titled Becoming a Blessed Church. One thing I appreciate in his material is the suggestion that sometimes Session members need to slow down in their decision-making process. He encourages Elders to take their time in reflecting on and praying about significant issues coming before them. It’s good to move quickly sometimes, responding compassionately in a crisis. But there are times in which it’s important to take more time. We all have our opinions about how government should work, whether in the civic or church arena. For some, things can’t done quickly enough; for others being cautious and careful is appreciated. Leadership is often a heavy burden.
Recently the Stated Clerk of our denomination, J. Herbert Nelson, released a video urging churches to slow down. To take time. To not be in a hurry. If you’d like to listen, you can find his message here: https://www.pcusa.org/news/2020/6/9/stated-clerk-says-dont-rush-get-back-church-buildi/. The leadership of First Presbyterian Church, while eager to return to some degree of “normalcy,” is taking time, slowing down… to discern, plan, prepare, pray.
Groups may now gather again, albeit in Fellowship Hall rather than in the Library or Memorial Parlors. (Soft surfaces are more challenging to disinfect!) Masks must be worn into the building. Hand sanitizer wall dispensers are on their way! In-person worship is planned for July 5th. Information about expectations and procedures will be shared soon. Exercising caution and care, we’ll go wisely into these uncertain days together, taking each step slowly!