Introduction ~ Europeans walk and bike ride everywhere, not as form of exercise but as a way of life. In Italy we walked about 5-7 miles a day. On one of our day trips we walked up to a small village called Civita di Bagnoregio. The bridge was the only way up, it was a very steep walk. Some folks took off as if to conquer the task before them, others took their time but never stopped till they got to the top. And then there were those who chose to stop and catch their breath. Those who paused in their walk, were treated to one of the most stunning views, the Lazio Valley of Umbria. They learned the lesson that slowing it down offered benefits that they might have missed.
The Scripture ~ “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
The Spiritual Focus ~ “An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” Henry D. Thoreau
The Breath Prayer ~ Inhale I am, Exhale Slowing it down
The Devotion ~ Jesus walked everywhere; it was just the way it was in his day. While it is true that somedays he may have preferred another form of transportation, walking allowed him to experience the lives of the people following him, in their natural habitat. Walking allowed Jesus to tell stories to the people, teaching as he often did, drawing inspiration from the life he was experiencing all around him. Our culture today views walking as a form of exercise, many of us with earbuds in, listening to a podcast or on a phone call. But walking can be practiced as habit of slowing it down. Walking meditation, or walking a labyrinth are two ways to practice walking as a way of slowing it down. When in Italy our group was dropped off at the foot of a long bridge which is the only way to reach the village of Bagnoregio. We all walked it at a different pace but the group that walked it slowly, intentionally, stopping to look around, were treated to a view of the picturesque Lazio valley. Everybody saw the valley but those who slowed down or stopped for a breath, witnessed a God moment. When we walk as meditation, we experience God moments everywhere, valleys, mountain tops or city streets. Walking as a way of slowing it down, pausing to look around, affirms God’s promised presence.