Easter, Christmas, and Last Blast. Those are three big events we have here at Fellowship and it seems like, for all of the years that I’ve been attending them (even at other churches) I don’t have even a few memories of them. This was happening even before I started working at Fellowship a few years ago, and I’m willing to bet that most of you are in a similar situation. I love the holidays…so why can’t I remember them?
If you don’t know me, then let me say “Hi! it’s nice to meet you. My name is Ben and I’m the media director here at Fellowship”. I’ve said that line so many times every holiday to new people that sometimes it just rolls off the tongue without me even knowing it. Part of my job is the technological aspect of our productions, as well as the graphics and (most) of the videos that go up and around our social media sites. I also work another job and like to keep a social life as well as time with the family. I’m busy…to say the least, but so is everyone else it seems.
If it’s alright, I’d like to take this moment to do a small exercise with you.
Inhale with me through your mouth for five seconds.
Exhale through your nose for five seconds.
Read this next poem written by David, and take a moment to meditate on it.
Pretty Positive Right?
Don’t worry, I’m not trying to bring you down from the fun this Easter. Quite the contrary, I pray that you take the time to notice it. The stressors and responsibilities in our lives, while important, will not end the world. I want you to pay special, specific attention to the word “Flourish” that was used in this translation. Human life, my life, your life, is built to be beautiful. I want to drive home the idea, immediately, that before you are a mom, or a dad, or a student, or a sports fan, or a self-proclaimed disappointment or hot mess, you are first and foremost ____________. [fill in your name here]
That breathing exercise…
…you just did is specifically built to deactivate our fight-or-flight instinct that we can find ourselves in. Some of us live in this nature. I know I did. Especially around Easter.
…always very tense for me.
It wasn’t until I really started to look at myself years ago and wonder why I was so stressed to begin with, that I began to understand that it all had to do with the sinking feeling that I was losing track of time. That these parts of my life that were supposed to be fun and enjoyable but often left me feeling like they were gone in a flash and I didn’t get to even enjoy them.
Holidays and special occasions have a knack for pushing us mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically to the extreme. And then, somehow, after all that work, when we try to remember the events it’s as if they had been Men in Black style MIND WIPED from us. If Christmas is such a special day to me, why is it that I hardly remember it?!? To answer this, I’d like you to hit the play button below. I have recently gotten into a great podcast about time management and, very recently, one of the main subjects was “Why Time Fly’s?”. Go ahead and hit that button, it’s about 4 minutes long I promise. I’ll wait.
Like Laura said, our memories and our perception of time are inherently linked. It was because of this Idea that I realized that if I wanted to enjoy Easter more, if I wanted to Remember Easter more, I would have to take a few moments every now and again to breathe. God wants us to do this, he wants us to enjoy spending time with family and going all out on fun Easter traditions.
God has made beauty in this world, and the cruel nature of sin constantly seeks to pervert it.
Dramatic, I know, but it seems to happen over and over again. Everything in this world, every source of stress, every source of love, every moment of joy, every moment of apathy, every hug, and every slap, is fleeting, but what we imprint on our hearts and on our souls lasts for much longer. It is because of this rationale that I strive to remember the things that are beautiful, meaningful, and important to me. It is because of the memories I have to make that I slow down and breathe.
I would challenge you to do the same…
…At least for this weekend. When you find something worth truly remembering, take 10 seconds (a breath in and a breath out) and remember it. It will make the fun last longer I promise. And the fun is meant for you. God planned for the fun and the incredible and the lovely moments in our lives from the inception of the universe specifically for those moments of time. In Ecclesiastes, Paul writes that,
Next, I’d like you guys to play this song that I have below. And to pray the lines under it with me. And to pray them slowly, and meaningfully. God wants to have conversations with us, so be silent after each sentence and give yourself the opportunity to reflect.
God, thank you for making a
world with me in it…
Thank you for setting up the sun and the stars from the beginning of time with the specific intent of me seeing them.
God, thank you for making me complex and dynamic, and for giving me the capacity to notice and remember the things around me.
God, I pray that, during my time this weekend,
I make a conscious effort to enjoy what is in my life.
To notice what exactly you sent your son to us for.
God, I pray that while I know that I can’t let go of some of these responsibilities in my life, that I recognize, constantly, that I was designed as an individual with a self-contained incredible beauty that was fashioned and stitched together to be in the image of you and a gift for me.
Help me see it around me.
God help me notice the incredible plans you have for me and the incredible world you have shown me.
And God, more than anything in this moment, thank you for
letting me remember these things.
God, thank you for designing me beautifully.
Thank you for giving me that part of you God.
Thank you for Giving me you.
If the song is still playing, just let it play out.
just…let it play out…and breathe.