One morning, a few years ago, I followed a young couple through a college campus on my way to an appointment. These two, walking with their arms around each other’s waists, walked in perfect step, steadily and rhythmically. Their pace was not hurried, but neither were they strolling slowly. I could keep up with them, but I felt no urgency to move past them as we walked the same path through the campus. As I watched them, I realized they were not consciously working at staying in step with each other. The rhythm of their walk was perfectly timed, and very natural. They were at peace.
I thought about walking with Jesus that way. Keeping a sacred pace that was neither too fast nor too slow, a pace that came naturally, allowing me to talk with Jesus while staying in perfect step with the Master. The young couple reminded me that in order to maintain ‘sacred pace’ we must keep in step with Jesus, and let him keep his arm around us as we embrace him in return. We must also keep our arms around each other as we walk together. Sometimes it is slow, so slow, in contrast to our daily frenzy.
As I shared these thoughts with a friend, he said, “Yes, but sometimes it means gearing up.” Sometimes, we need to add some energy to our steps, lengthen our stride, and work to keep up with Jesus as he leads us along the pathway. Sometimes, sacred pace may even mean gearing up into a full, exhilarating run. Keeping in step with Jesus could make us break a sweat.
Finding that sacred pace is not so much about speeding up or forcing myself to slow down. It isn’t about speed. It has more to do with staying aware of the pace set by the One who moves beside us, and maintaining a rhythm. It’s about being in step and keeping your arms around each other’s waists, walking in an embrace with Christ. Early Pietists asked one another a question that we might do well to repeat to one another, too: “How goes your walk with the Lord?” Are you keeping sacred pace?
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. – I John 1:5-7