People flow in and out of our lives each day and the combinations of relationship are as varied as the leaves of a tree. We know these people on endless levels and are equally known, or unknown, in as many different ways. Most people know us superficially by the mask we wear but our deepest need and longing is to be truly known. To be known in our truest sense is a scary proposition and one rarely undertaken. Often, we don’t even know ourselves in our truest sense.
In Godspeed: The Pace of Being Known, Matt Canlis takes us on his own personal journey to know and be known. Ordained in the Church of Scotland, Matt is sent to Methlick Parish, the tiniest parish on a nearly forgotten path in the Scottish countryside. He is used to the fast pace of city life, the life of traffic, of phones, and hurried conversations. He can’t imagine how he will fill his days with the handful of parishioners in his care. He thinks polished sermons and deep theological ideas will bring these country folks up to speed. “Not so fast,” they say to him.
Matt has no office; his “office” is the cobblestone streets and grassy pathways leading to his congregants’ homes. Instead of sermons, the church elder tells him to knock on doors and have one-on-one conversations. Matt must backtrack to the early days of the Church, to the methods used by Paul and the Disciples, becoming a door-to-door evangelist.
As he walks and knocks and talks to these quiet Christians his heart rate and blood pressure slow down. He begins to listen and see each person for the unique individual that they are. Their faith is strong, steady, and moving at a natural pace, unhurried and deliberate. They are moving at Godspeed. He discovers their deep knowledge of each other, dating back for generations. They are the pure definition of community, a blended family, the family of God.
Through the Methlick Christians Matt’s own walk with God is revolutionized. In Godspeed he begins to live his own authentic self and discovers the beauty of each individual before him.
The modern definition of Godspeed is wishing one well on their journey, to have a speedy trip. In God’s timing that speed is, more often than not, unhurried and intentional. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. (2 Peter 3:8) Through Matt Canlis’ documented journey we are urged to slow down, look each other in the eyes, listen, and dare to be known. It is the most intimate form of hospitality and a skill that takes a lifetime of practice.
Godspeed: The Pace of Being Known is currently the topic of our adult Sunday school class. It is only 30 minutes long and I was able to watch it for free by going to LiveGodspeed.org. The Scottish scenery is beautiful, the souls even more so. The class is 10 weeks long, ending March 11, so you still have time to join in and find Godspeed for your life.
~ Cheryl Kurtz