We begin our worship service by ringing the bell of mindfulness. It is a beautiful clay bell, suspended by a rope and hanging on the chancel; it has a Bflat pitch and is a lovely golden colour. We ring it three times - it is a gentle yet effective way to call people in worship.
The bell became a part of the sanctuary following a study on Thich Nhat Hanh's Peace is Every Step. Within the book Hanh encourages us to look for signals, each day, that will call us to a place of mindfulness: the red brake lights of the car in front of you in traffic, the smell of freshly brewed coffee, the sound of a whistling tea kettle, the sight of a star or the moon. Every day sensory triggers to remind us to be present to the moment, to recall God's love for us, to remember we are not in this alone.
As Lent begins, look for your signal of mindfulness: what will it be? The 'what' is not as important as the action: to slow down, to offer a prayer of thanks or need, to take a deep breath, to be still and know God. This hurried loud world will always want us to be caught up in the race for success, for news, for achievement. Don't listen to the shouting. Don't be a rat. Be still. Be mindful. Listen for a word from God.