Thursday, February 19, 2015

Traffic Jams and Time Outs (Chapel A Day 2015 Day 1)

I arrived at Ash Wednesday service in a state of agitation. Everywhere I'd turned on this first day of Lent, I encountered delays. Traffic jams, detours, delays, slow crawls, dead ends and dead stops. Time was NOT on my side. I found myself running out of time and running late to every single appointment---including the Ash Wednesday church service.

I walked in ten minutes after the service began. The sanctuary was packed. I almost walked out, but I remembered my Lenten commitment to set aside time, specifically an hour a day, to sit in a chapel or church and listen for and to God. I scooted up the stairs to the balcony where I settled in just before the Gospel reading and sermon began. "Breathe, Drexel, breathe," I thought. After all, timing is everything. And perhaps my late arrival was in some strange way, perfect timing.

There were many good points in the sermon. One that resonated with me: Lent is when we take a "time out." Lent is a season when take time to listen to God.  To listen to Jesus. To listen.

I began to consider that the day's literal traffic jams, detours, delays, dead ends and dead stops are symbolic of the figurative gridlock of life. We start out with the best intentions of having a well mapped, easily navigated, timely day. But, a detour here, a delay there, a dead end or a dead stop can throw us so off course we never get back on schedule.Time runs out.

Today's chapel-a-day moment seems to be telling me that during the next 40 days, I need to move out of the fast lane and stop racing here, or looking for a shortcut there. Perhaps the detours and delays are designed to get me to slow down and listen.Instead of focusing on racing to "the the next thing" maybe I should take a time-out . After all, my ultimate destination isn't governed by time. It's governed by the One who invented time--- the One who controls time---the One who makes all things beautiful in His time. 

He just may have something to say to me in the next 40 days. I'm going to do my best to listen. And, I want to give Him all the time He needs.