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“Slow Me Down” … During VBS Week?

Written By Paul Brandes

The Joys and Challenges of VBS Week

The Shawnee Campus hosted Vacation Bible School again this year, and it was AWESOME. Ninety kids, 75 volunteers (including 25 student volunteers), and just buckets of energy in the building for four straight nights. It was an “all-in” event for our staff, and I had the privilege of serving as “Storyteller” for the week, along with the “Host,” Johnny Tsunami, otherwise known as Johnny Daigle, our pastoral resident.

It truly was a blessed week, but I’ll be honest, in a variety of ways, it was also a frenetic and frantic week. Building set-up, lesson prep, volunteer training, loooooong nights, and more. And all the regular weekly rhythms still remained: staff meeting, pastoral care, Sunday morning sermon.

It’s hard for me to admit, but during the midst of all that, my inner world started to speed up to an uncomfortable pace. It’s that feeling of not noticing that you’re driving 17 miles over the speed limit, but then you see a police car up ahead. “Ah! I’m going WAY too fast, and now I’m also stressed that I’m going to pay for it in other ways!”

Do you ever feel that? Frenetic? Frantic? Like you’re giving all you have but it’s just not enough, and the only option is to speed up and “drive” faster?

Listen, friends, I don’t know the exact “speed limit” of our souls (and it’s probably different for each of us), but I do know that I tend to very regularly jam my foot down on the accelerator and start driving my life, body, and soul faster than I should.

 

The Gift of Slowing Down

Which is why it’s a gift when God reminds us of our need to slow down.

He has an incredibly diverse number of ways to do this, some more extreme than others. There have been times in my life where God had to hit me over the head with a sledgehammer to get me to slow down.

Thankfully, this most recent time, he reminded me with a song, not a sledgehammer.

I’ve been listening to The Porter’s Gate worship collective since they started making beautiful music together in 2019. The Porter’s Gate is a sacred ecumenical arts collective reimagining and recreating worship that welcomes, reflects, and impacts both the community and the church. It was founded with a mission to be a “porter” for the church—one who looks beyond church doors for guests to welcome.

They have a number of stunning albums, and one of their most recent is titled “Worship for Workers.” Their first album was called “Work Songs,” so I went into my listening of their follow up album on the topic of work with low expectations. How much meat could really be left on that bone?

I was sorely mistaken! The whole album is incredible, but the first song is how the Lord graced me to remember to slow down. Not surprisingly, it’s titled “Slow Me Down.”

And honestly, at this point, I don’t even want to say any more. Enjoy, be blessed, and for the love of your soul, SLOW DOWN.

 

“Slow Me Down” Lyrics

O Good Shepherd, would you teach me how to rest
I’m rushing on, will you make me to lie down
Will you build a fold by the waters that refresh
Will you call my name and lead me safely out

From my anxious drive to labor on and on
From the restless grind that has put my mind to sleep
Will you call me back and gently slow me down
Will you show me now what to lose and what to keep

O Good Shepherd, O Good Friend slow me down.

When my table’s bent with only greed and gold
And my grasping hands are afraid you won’t provide
Will you pour the wine that loosens up my hold
Set your table here with what truly satisfies

On the busy streets trying to make myself a name
If the work is yours, there is nothing I can claim
Will you lead home to the pastures of your peace
The house is yours, I’m sitting at your feet.

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