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  • Sarah Raad

Sauntering

Christ knew that God could make use out of a walk walked well, and He showed us – by sauntering along on His own Holy Feet…

Has Been In Desert (Vasily Polenov)

I was rushing around the other day trying to get the house cleaned, washing packed and dinner ready for the evening while answering emails for work, solving technical problems on Zoom for my children’s home-schooling, and checking in on my sisters, who have just had babies…


Let me just say that I was having a really busy day.


It was no busier than the days that all the other people are having, and I do not mention it for sympathy, pity or relief, I mention the busyness of my day as a mere fact to contextualise my thoughts that followed that evening…


You see, later that evening, when I was finally getting ready for bed – after a very long day indeed – I was thinking about all the rushing that I do, and it occurred to me that this is the way of life… We are always pushing forwards and I am always rushing. And time literally flies by…


I never have time to stop because I am too busy rushing from one activity to another. In fact, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated lockdowns, I had not spent 2 days in a row at home without leaving my house. It was unheard of for my children to spend a school holiday without a “party” or a lunch or a brunch. Prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, it was unheard of for us to spend an entire weekend within our own four walls inside our own house without a meal out or a visit to a cousin or a drive to somewhere interesting, different or exciting.

In fact, in the mad rush of everything, I had forgotten how to sit still. And that is surely a realy shame, because there is something in that sitting. There is something to be found in the quiet.

Christ sat still very often. And He was a very busy Man – He had a lot to do. And yet, how much of the Gospel is devoted to stories about Christ going away to be alone and going away to pray? How many times did Christ have to take time to reflect and be quiet and be still? And His stillness was profound. He allowed things to happen to Him in the stillness. He did not stop them. In the stillness of the desert, He was tempted for forty days and forty nights. In the stillness of the Cross He waited to die. In the stillness of the tomb He conquered death and defeated sin. In the stillness of the resurrection He gave us life!


Christ could perform miracles. He could turn water into wine, make the blind, deaf and dumb see, hear and speak. He could make the lame walk and lepers whole. He could feed the multitudes with a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread. He could bring people back from the dead. And yet, there are no miracles attributed to Christ flying from one destination to another to save Himself some time. Christ walked – on His own two Precious Feet – Christ walked.


And how did He walk? Did He rush around like a crazy person the way that I do?


No.


He walked. He sauntered. Nice and slowly.


He knew that the walk itself was as much the mission as His destination. He knew that God could make use out of a walk walked well, as much as He could make use of a miracle performed.


And once I realised that – the importance of the walk – I looked at myself and considered my day, and I wept!


In the Middle Ages, when Christians used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land and they would tell the people that they met along the way that they were going, “A la Sainte Terre”, which meant, “To the Holy Land”. And so, over time, the people along the way used to see these pilgrims walking and used to call these pilgrims, “Sainte-Terre-ers” or “saunter-ers”... And that is the origin of the word “saunter”, which means to walk in a leisurely, relaxed or slow manner.


As Christ did…


And so, that night after such a busy day of running around, as I lay down to sleep, it occurred to me that though I can run, I should learn to walk – to saunter – for there is a holiness in sauntering that I could not trade for all the riches of the entire world…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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