(If you are just joining us, please refer to the blog post for the first week of Advent for background on this post.)
So how did it go the first week to repeat Psalm 46:10 with each bead? I hope that it helped you enter into this Advent season knowing that God is present as we wait in darkness for the coming Light. I hope that it helped you to begin to be still.
Being still is hard. It does not come naturally for us. We are a world of busy-ness and frantic fast-paced living. We feel that the earth will somehow stop spinning on its axis if we slow down. We hear Creation groaning under the weight of sin and think that we must do more, buy more, be more, in order to save it. We feel it is all up to us.
Being still takes a great deal of trust. And patience. And honesty. In stillness we are confronted with the fact that our busy-ness is actually ineffective, pointless. We are reminded that God is the only one who can save the world from self-destruction. We are challenged to sit back and wait for God to act in God’s own time.
Advent brings the good news that we can stop trying so hard to be all things to all people in all situations. Instead, we can just be still.
For session #2 of The Upper Room’s Academy for Spiritual Formation, we were required to read Lawrence Kushner’s God was in this Place and I, i did not know. It is a remarkable book that uses the Jewish gift of Midrash – stories – to help us understand Jacob’s statement in Genesis 28:16 when he said, “God was in this place and I, I did not know.” At one point in the book, Kushner writes:
Right now we can only be who we are. We are simply all that we can be. And once we recognize this, we can no longer covet anything because at this moment there is nothing else that we could possibly be. And if that is so, when we say “I am” . . . we come very close to the One who spoke the first “I am.” . . . The layers of pretense and self-delusion fall away, leaving now instead the innermost essence that knows its origin and destiny. This at last is a self that knows its place among other selves, perhaps not “I am” but “i am.”
We can be still because we are the lowercase “i” and we are enough. We can be still because God is the uppercase “I” and God is Enough. God is the one – the only one – who is in control and has the capacity to save the world. We can stop, and let go, and take a deep breath. And when we do we will know that the world is in good hands. We are in the hands of the great I AM.
So, for this second week we will crunch the verse down a bit more.
Cross: In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
With Each Bead: ”Be still, and know that I AM.” (Psalm 46:10, NIV)
Cross: In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.