My Column for The Elgin Review 3.4.2020
For the first 199, 900 years of human history, give or take a few, we humans traveled, at our fastest, behind good carriage horses, about twelve miles per hour. Or, when walking, somewhere around five miles per hour. It’s only been in the past 120 years since the proliferation of the automobile that traveling sixty-five or seventy miles per hour is normal.
Think of how much more information we are asking our brains to take in and process now than humans ever had to process for almost all of human history before us.
And, for the first 199,950 years of human history, give or take a few, we humans saw and took in only what was around us in the natural world, or what we read on scrolls, or, after the invention of the printing press on a printed page. It wasn’t until the 1950s that we began watching moving images every day on tv, and not until the 1990s that we began to take into our brains mega pixels of information, sometimes for hours at a time, on our computers and smart phones.
Is it any wonder so many of us feel unsettled, harried and stressed much of the time? Is it any wonder Attention Deficit Disorder is rampant in our kids? Maybe in another hundred years our human brains will have time to adapt to the amount of information now being thrown at us, but right now, our evolution hasn’t really been given much time to catch up with our inventions.
For the past 1700 years, give or take, Christians have taken forty days before Easter to give something up in order to open room in our lives to reflect on how we’re doing in relationship with God and to make whatever adjustments we recognize we need to make. This season, called Lent, seems all the more important in our modern, media driven, fast paced age.
At Park Congregational Church our theme for Lent this year is “Walking with Jesus.” In our worship services we are thinking about where Jesus walked and what Jesus did in his ministry. In addition, we are actually walking. Every week I am suggesting different ways of walking our prayers during the week. I am encouraging folks to give up some of our hurry and our information overload to slow and notice all the things we can see and appreciate at three or four miles per hour that we miss when we’re going somewhere between twenty-five and seventy miles per hour.
Whoever you are, wherever you are on life’s journey, I encourage you to take some time every day to get away from the steady stream of information overload. I encourage you to walk somewhere, noticing as you go things you cannot notice when you’re traveling at your usual pace. If you are a follower of Jesus, I encourage you to wonder as you walk what Jesus might notice or point out to you were he walking right there with you.
You are welcome to join us in worship, as always. Last week we “walked with Jesus into the wilderness of temptation.” This coming Sunday we’ll “walk with Jesus up a mountain of encouragement.” Worship is at 9:15, ten miles west of Elgin on Hwy 70 and ½ mile south.