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The Lord is My Pace Setter

2013 has started a little rushed for me. If you and I are friends on Facebook you may know of the loft conversion on our home in Oxford, which seems to be a never-ending project. There are some significant speaking engagements ahead, the myriad details of the Resurrection Year book launch on May 28 to plan, and more. It’s only February and I’m ready for a holiday!

Last night I started reading Maybe Tomorrow by my new friend Tony Miles, Deputy Superintendent of London’s historic Methodist Central Hall. It’s an inviting collection of reflections, verses and prayers to end the day with. A few pages in I was captivated by this reworking of Psalm 23 by the Japanese poet Toki Miyashina:

The Lord is my pacesetter, I shall not rush.

he makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals.

He provides me with images of stillness

which restore my serenity.

He leads me in ways of efficiency,

through calmness of mind,

and his guidance is peace.

Even though I have a great many things to

accomplish this day,

I will not fret,

for his presence is here.

His timlessness,

His all-importance,

Will keep me in balance.

He prepares refreshment and renewal

in the midst of my activity

by anointing my head with the oil of tranquility.

My cup of joyous energy overflows.

Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours,

for I shall walk in the place of my Lord,

and dwell in His house forever.

Having visited Japan, seen its rushing masses and its countryside overgrown with car parks and shopping malls, this is a wonderful version of the original Psalm for a society that knows little of ‘pastures’ and ‘shepherds’. But it’s more than that. It is a reminder for anyone like me who so easily gets caught in the grip of rush and hurry, of the unhurried nature of God and his un-rushed ways of guidance.

It reminds me of something JB Phillips once noticed about Jesus:

‘His task and responsibility might well have driven a man out of his mind. But He was never in a hurry, never impressed by numbers, never a slave of the clock. He was acting, as He said, as He observed God to act—never in a hurry.’

I need to sit with this for a while.

The Lord is my pacesetter, I shall not rush.

He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity

by anointing my head with the oil of tranquility.

***

Question: How do you live this? What practices have you found most helpful for ‘resting in God’? Leave a comment now.

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