Slow Down (worship series)

Technically, winter doesn’t start for another few weeks.  But with the snow and frigid temperatures, the shortened days and darkened skies – the call of the season is already everywhere, inviting us to slow down, and reconnect.  To rest, and renew, following the rhythms of the earth, to allow for a deeper contemplation, stillness, and quiet.  

Except….it’s so easy to forget that this is the invitation we are offered during the month of December!

Instead of slowing down and leaning into the natural rhythms of the season, many of us speed up, especially with Thanksgiving falling so close to December! We try to pack in all the tasks, traditions, treats, and whatever else finds its way to our already-full to-do list. 

Which means – we can find ourselves even more out-of-time than usual.  Out-of-time, as in, not enough time to do all we want to do; and also, out-of-time, as in, not really present in our own lives, in the moment, or our place in life as a whole.  

This holiday season, we want to try something different.  This season, we want to explore what it would mean to be in right relationship with time.  The time we live in every day, and the larger arc of time that holds the whole of our lives, and all of life – past, present, future. We wonder if it is possible to experience this larger arc of time as enough – enough time to live, to be, to become all that we are called to be, and to let the rest go. 

It will mean taking a good look at the “shoulds” at play in our usual pace, and the expectations we have for ourselves, for our lives, and the anxieties that live underneath all of these.

Even more, it will mean helping each other release and shift old patterns so that we can feel a deeper sense of connections to ourselves, to each other, to the earth – in this season, and throughout the whole year.

This December, we invite you to explore with us this wondrous possibility – that even in, maybe especially in, the midst of the holidays: we’ve got time.

Series Spiritual Practices
To explore the themes of this series more personally, we invite you to try out our series spiritual practices: 

1.  Grounding Meditation.  Engage the body to be present to the here and now.  We’ll practice this at each of our 11:30 services throughout the series, and we’ll post an audio recording early next week for those who want to bring this practice home.

2.  Coloring.  Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore! The practice of coloring invites you to slow down and be present to beauty and creativity.  All month we’ll have colored pencils in the sanctuary – feel free to grab some and color the series logo.  We’ll also have special holiday themed coloring pages in the Family Zone. 

Guiding Music

We always choose one song for each of our worship series that we sing or perform in every Sunday in the series.  It’s usually something you’ll find yourself singing later in the day, without even realizing it.  Because music connects in the deepest parts of our brains, the idea is that we’ll connect more fully with theme, and bring it into our everyday lives. 

For this series, we’ve chosen Will Carry On from the singer, Bonnie Paine (you may know her from the Nederland-based group Elephant Revival). We appreciate its invitation to accept life as it is, and to accept ourselves as we are.  Looking forward to singing it with you all month – and to see how we do with the whistling! 

Explore Further 
Here are a few articles and ideas we are engaging as we explore this theme: 
A Slow and Steady Surrender What if We Didn’t Have a Future Tense Winter Solstice as a Time of Descent and Rest, of Going Within Deep TimeIn Praise of Telescopic Perspective
Look for Sunday follow-ups in the Communicator.
The service on Sunday is just 1 of 168 hours in your week.

Which means that the way to make Sunday have a real impact on our lives, we need to find ways to bring it into the rest of the week. 

One of the ways we’re doing this is by focusing our weekly Communicator email as a follow up to the prior Sunday. We include all the major elements of the service – from a link to the sermon to the text of readings, resources we used, music we sang, and a reminder of the key take away. 

We hope this offers you a touchstone throughout your week to return to and to go deeper – and to pass it on to a friend who you think would appreciate it. 
We’ll also post resources throughout the series at foothillsuu.org/slowdown