This week we have the decorators in re-decorating the hall, stairs and landing (insurance claim following a leak on the landing in February last year…..long story, don’t ask!). They are a cheerful couple of guys from Wolverhampton, but their working pattern took us by surprise. Basically they work for 40 minutes, then have a 30 minute break, work for 40 minutes, take another 30 minute break….. Needless to say, the work is taking some time! But their standard of work is excellent, the space is gradually being transformed and renewed and they always leave the house immaculate. Which has led me to ponder again on our new attitudes towards time and levels of activity during lockdown and beyond. Maybe working incessantly doesn’t always produce the best results…..
I suspect that since last March, the pace of life has slowed considerably for most of us. Or at the very least is different from before. We can view this change negatively or positively. Since I’ve been on part-time furlough, I’ve noticed how easy it is to slip into the mindset of putting jobs off til tomorrow- mañana, mañana….. There’s a danger of slipping into lethargy and lack of motivation. But we can also see this more relaxed pace of life as a gift- a time to read those books we have been meaning to get round to, to finish that handicraft piece that has been languishing in the back of a cupboard, to catch up on the DIY jobs we have kept putting off, maybe even- radical idea alert!- spending more time with God in prayer or reading the Bible. Perhaps this lockdown round, we may feel that we’ve done all those things…but there is always more to explore, learn and notice if we put our minds to it.
The approaching season of Lent has traditionally been a time, like Advent, when we are encouraged to spend more time intentionally involved in reflection and penitence as we think about the condition of the world and of our own hearts and lives and how these are connected with the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Speaking personally, often I start off with good intentions for a disciplined approach to Lent which often tails off before the end, subsumed by the busyness of everyday life. This year, I don’t think I can claim that excuse, so I am resolved, with more time available, to keep to my plan of daily reading and Bible study. I’ll keep you posted! I’m planning as part of this reading time to use the weekly reflections produced by Terry Thompson from our sister church at The Beacon, and by James. Why don’t you join me?
However we spend our time during Lent, let’s pray that, through this slower pace of living and working, the excellence of our God will be revealed, we too will be transformed and renewed, and that our ‘spiritual house’, as it were, is left in better order.
‘So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.’ Psalm 90:12