I listened to a fascinating debate earlier this week. BBC Radio One has recently carried out a survey about what people think of ‘Generation Z’ (those now aged 16-22). Apparently most older people think of Generation Z as being social media crazy and a bit lazy. Generation Z themselves self define as innovative, whilst being focused on family and education.
It struck me as I listened, that much of the range of views came down to how we view and how we prioritise our use of time.
This has been my theme for the week – for two other reasons too.
1. I am pleasantly installed in a room at Christchurch College Oxford. They are the Patron for one of my churches, and so have invited me (and others) for a few days away from the parish for theological reflection. We have had a series of lectures focused around the theme of ‘Saving Time: Pace and Rhythm in Ministry’. One of the discussions was focused around the use of time in music – a colleague pointed out that if music was constant, there would be no rhythm. If it wasn’t for breaks in the sound (silence and rest), then music would not be beautiful and inspiring, but a meaningless cacophony.
2. My Cotswold villages are in the midst of their Harvest Festivals. I made the mistake last summer of asking a farmer during June ‘was he getting away over the summer?’. He laughed in response and pointed out the amount of hard work that goes into the work of harvesting the fields. It is an incredibly (even constantly) busy time for the women and men who work on our land, but equally, once the work is done there is a need for rest. Our natural creation reminds us so strongly that the soil, the hedgerows, the land all need some rest before the work begins again.
Today’s culture (for most generations) can feel pretty frenetic at times, which is great – but it can’t be the whole picture. The stories about Jesus in the Bible are punctuated by moments of him taking time out. He goes off on his own for a bit, he prays, he enjoys a meal with friends, he finds time to rest, enjoy and to be renewed.
Whether we are Generation Z and tied to our iPhones, or people of any age caught up in busyness, we need to be aware of the pace of life and find space for that which energizes and refreshes us.
By the Revd Canon Katrina Scott
Area Dean for the North Cotswolds