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Slowing Down, In Community - A Holy Wednesday Reflection from Rev. Sadie Cullumber

This Lent, my congregation is using a beautiful curriculum from “A Sanctified Art” called “Wandering Heart, Figuring Out Faith with Peter.” It has been a beautiful and honest time for our community, a time that is actually allowing each of us to show up more fully in the world. In our study, we are seeing the absolute humanness of Peter – his disbelief that Jesus would call him to be a disciple, his willingness to jump out of the boat and walk on the water with Jesus, how he told Jesus the truth when asked, “Who do you say that I am?,” how he handled being scolded and rebuked by Jesus, how he needed details about just how many times we ought to forgive, and more. It has been a time of reflection and contemplation, and it has been deeply meaningful.

What we are seeing in Peter is that the Christian walk is a process, not a destination. Within this lifelong process, we will grow and evolve, but we will also fall flat on our faces and even experience defeat and humiliation. In fact, it’s in these painful moments that we will experience our most profound growth.

The season of Lent is a time that allows us to slow down, stretch time out, look at all the details, and clear the dust bunnies from the corners of our minds and the corners of our churches. In this unfamiliar and slow pace, Lent becomes the time when we are able to communally practice walking through the uncomfortable and disappointing parts of life. In our congregation, we practice slowing down, breathing together, and remembering our humanness. Remembering that our bodies need rest and nourishment. Remembering that our emotional selves need time to feel. Remembering that our mental selves can take a break too. When we slow down, especially as a whole community, healing happens.

In this Lenten season, I have had the privilege of pastoring several people in my congregation through challenging situations in their lives. All of them are seeing that slowing their paces, noticing the details, and living reflectively is making it possible for them to actually heal family rifts, to share kind words about people they work with, and even to mend relationships between spouses. Lent teaches us to stop clinging to the frantic pace that we believe we have to keep. Lent teaches us that when we let go of this pace and the belief systems that have upheld it, healing happens, and meaning is created.  

So, this Lent, instead of giving something up, our community is learning to stop clenching our fists, to open our hands, to let go, to allow a new possibility, a new way to break into our lives. In this new way, we go slow. Slow enough to see all the beauty around us. Slow enough to notice when there is an injustice that needs to be healed. Slow enough to notice when our bodies are tired. Slow enough to notice when someone else’s body needs sabbath. Slow enough to enjoy the journey and make dear friends along the way. Because that’s what the Christian walk is: a journey of communal becoming, where we watch our very human parts dance with the spark of the divine that resides within us all.  


Rev. Sadie Cullumber accepted a call to Harbor Christian Church in August 2017. She was born and raised in San Diego and spent the first part of her career as an educational professional. She taught high school English for many years and also spent several years as an academic counselor. She is a DSF/CST graduate (M.Div./2015) and after graduating, she spent two years pastoring in San Diego before moving to Orange County. She now lives in Costa Mesa with her husband, their two daughters, four cats, and three chickens. Sadie loves animals!


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