Friday, January 31, 2014

Be Still

Be Still and Know
– Psalm 46:10

My New Year’s resolution this year elicited a range of reactions, from hearty laughter to plain puzzlement.  Last year, it was “to wear brighter colors,” and that actually turned out pretty well.  I’d grown tired of the standard batch of personal improvement resolutions that I was habitually making and promptly breaking over the years; it was making me a little cynical.  “Brighter colors” seemed like something I could run with.  This year, it’s “to be quieter.” The laughter was from my mother and others closest to me.  The puzzlement was from most everyone else who asked.  But this one may turn out to be the most beneficial in years.  
It arose out of a personal observation of how “noisy” I am.  Not so much outwardly, but inside.  It’s alarming to me how much is going on in my head, nearly all the time.  Layers and convolutions of thoughts and imaginings and looping “tapes” about things present, things past and what may be coming next.  Perhaps I’m being overly confessional, but I don’t think I’m alone in this … challenged in trying to “do life” effectively with this din going on in my head.  So I’m trying to be quieter, inside.  I have resumed an ancient practice and time-tested discipline of centering prayer:  periods of silence – as regularly as I can manage – when I gently let my mind grow still and simply rest in God’s presence.  Our contemplative worship gathering – Evensong – is a wonderful opportunity for this, as well.  The candlelit quiet of our sanctuary, steeping in God’s Word, the beauty of Taizé chant music, periods of silence, the bread and wine, shared simply – all invite me into that place the Psalmist knows:  the place where the One says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”  
I am better for this.  I am stronger, and clearer, for spending intentional time resting in God, by myself and in the shared contemplation of Evensong.  Whenever we will get still, and turn and open ourselves, the One from whom all blessings flow is right there to embrace us.  You can do this, too.  We can do this together.  Evensong is every Sunday at 5:00 pm.  And we can talk about the simple methodology of centering prayer any time you’d like.  And I’m going to stick with the brighter colors; that seems to be working, too.


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