Slow liturgy [my parts]

Greenbelt 2004

slow intro:

[invite people to take watches off/turn phones off]

the service is entitled slow, but you can't talk about slow without considering its opposite
it's not as simple as saying slow is good and fast is bad:
slow is bad when you're waiting for an ambulance
but good when you're waiting for the dentist

[explain 'fast' and 'slow' ends of room]

take a few moments to consider your feelings about fast and slow

are you a fast person or a slow person?
do you want to slow down or speed up?
is your life already fast or slow?
are you in a fast place or a slow place - spiritually, mentally, physically?
do you want to be in a fast place or a slower place?
how fast or slow do you want to get there?

do you seek slow love and fast food? or vice versa?
is work too fast and travel too slow? or vice versa?
are you a contemplative trapped inside a commuter?
if the motorway is empty do you slow down or speed up?
is your computer too slow or too fast?

opening prayer:

to those who creep towards the kingdom
god says welcome
to those who rush towards the kingdom
god says welcome
to all of you, however you come, in speed and sloth,
god says welcome
to the door and the arms that are always open wide

slow meditation:

reality is a static image, rolling past at 24 frames per second
if we slow the movie down, what will we see?

slow the projector in your head and lose the fluidity
embrace the flicker, the jerkiness
allow the frames of your life to disconnect and stop

now your life lies still in front of your eyes, what do you see?
play 'spot the difference' with each frozen moment
now you have time to examine carefully each corner and shadow
what details are revealed, that you always move too fast to see?

fleeting expressions and imperceptible gestures
betraying a truth not discerned
a turning you didn't take
another universe of futures, vanishing from sight

to us the stars stand still
but ancient eyes could not navigate by our skies
the north point of the sky moves in a circle 28000 years around
the north star we know is not the north star of our ancestors or descendants
they will see other constellations

does god see our lives the way we see the stars?
innumerable slow movements plotted and understood on charts long before the event
constellations drawn that serve for a while and break up
how slow is reality for god?
what do fast and slow mean in eternity
where every tiny moment and endless age are available for detailed inspection
a day like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a day

if we slow down do we see more like god sees?
see all the details
creation's crazy minutiae
who would have time to see all that stuff except god?
is that why there's so much of it?

how quickly does salvation come?
if we slowed our lives down would we see every step and progression?
or would its detail still evade us
a blur of motion in the shadows of a static frame
a frozen block in the centre of the movie?

if we slow down will we see what god sees?
will we see what god is doing?

have you ever tried?