The world has a pace. We call it busy-ness, activism, freneticism. And at the extreme, we name it “hurry sickness.” We are all familiar with this, for we live in a world geared for it. And we know firsthand the debilitating effects of running faster and trying harder in the world’s feverish round of unceasing activities.
Ever think that grace has a pace. Did Anyone ever teach you to think differently? Maybe we should consider the speed at which we live to appear normal, even “spiritual.” Some have a Bible verse for it, “growing weary in well-doing” (Galatians 6:9). Maybe even our misunderstanding enables us to justify “exceeding the speed limit” in too many aspects of our lives?
We can become cynical about the pace of grace and maybe give up on it for the most part. The point is simply this: it is easier at some stages of life to live the pace of grace than it is at other times. It is far easier to live the pace of grace when the responsibilities of life (legitimate ones) seem to turn us every which way but loose. God knows this about us, and in such times, the pace of grace may be more of a vision to keep than an actual practice to achieve. That’s why it is a pace of GRACE.
But even “in the whirlwind,” we do not have to become victims of the soul-draining pace of the world. We can live in the pace of grace through the practice of the spiritual disciplines–means of grace that give our lives pattern and rhythm. The disciplines of abstinence (e.g. solitude, silence, sabbath) are especially helpful.
The disciplines are not only a collection of formative activities, but they are also a means to help us establish the spirit of the Christian life: engagement and abstinence. The pace of grace is the combination of doing and being, working, and resting. If we fall prey to a performance-oriented view of life (e.g. “I am what I do”), it will be difficult to see the pace of grace which essentially says, “I do what I am,” and puts the core of life in our personhood, not our productivity.
The pace of grace comes alive in us as we practice disciplines of abstinence as much as we practice disciplines of engagement. Even when we cannot fully live into this pattern and rhythm, we keep the reality and experience of it alive in little acts of everyday living that grow us in both our character and our conduct, lest in our freneticism we forget who we are.
Each of us is called to live in and practice G R A C E, not only for the world we live in with others but we are to live in and practice grace for our personal lives as well. I hope that together we will all practice grace together. Practice does not make perfect, but draws us to be a better Christians today and tomorrow.
Are you remembering to spend time at noon in saying the Lord’s Prayer. Please mark your calendars, set alarms, and remind others that you speak with, by telephone, email, zoom, letters and cards, to be in prayer each day at noon.