This year, ABM’s Lent and Easter resources have been designed to help facilitate this journey on the slow path of prayer and listening.
Mission is about God. God is about mission. As we have quoted numerous times before, “Mission is finding out what God is doing, and joining in” (Rowan Williams). If this is true, prayer and listening are integral to mission. In order to find out what God is doing, what God’s spirit is saying to the church, it is essential that we slow down, take time out from the busyness, and listen - to wait, to watch, to hear and to truly see.
This Lent, as we wait for resurrection, let’s listen deeply to God. God’s voice is most often in the voices of those whose voices are forgotten, silenced, marginalised, or unattractive. God’s voice is to be heard through the prophets, the voices crying out in the wilderness.
These voices can only truly be heard if we slow down and take a step back from the sound bites, the clanging symbols of political rhetoric fed to us by a constant stream of media coverage, the to-do lists of church life, the inner voice that constantly demands we do more, be more, consume more. God’s voice is a still small voice heard when we take time, when we lower our voice and open our ears. It is heard in the most unlikely places, in the places that evoke deep prayer.
The global ecumenical church is calling Christians worldwide to listen to God’s voice, a voice that has been pushed to the margins. It is encouraging us to hear that mission is no longer done from a centre to the “margins”:
This Lent ABM invites you to join us on the slow path of prayer and contemplation, a path of prayerful listening for this distinctive contribution, of listening for God. Lent is traditionally a time of introspection and renewal, a time of turning around, turning towards God. This is not navel-gazing, rather the complete opposite. If we are going to be able to live into God’s mission in the world, it is integral that we take time, slow down and listen to God, and God’s prophets. Through this process we find the ground of our being and the shape of our living.
ABM has sourced the image of the slow path from Michael Leunig’s prayer:
We pray for another way of being:
another way of knowing.
Across the difficult terrain of our existence
we have attempted to build a highway
and in so doing have lost our footpath.
God lead us to our footpath:
Lead us there where in simplicity
we may move at the speed of natural creatures
and feel the earth's love beneath our feet.
Lead us there where step-by-step we may feel
the movement of creation in our hearts.
And lead us there where side-by-side
we may feel the embrace of the common soul.
Nothing can be loved at speed.
God lead us to the slow path; to the joyous insights
of the pilgrim; another way of knowing: another way of being.