Be Still and Know that I Am God

Oct 27, 2011


One day, while sitting beside a swimming pool, I watched a small boy alone in a hot tub as he played with the bubbles scuttling across the water. He would reach out his arms and gently draw the bubbles into himself. He calmly sought to embrace these bubbles, over and over again. Finally, after seeing that the bubbles continued to elude him and would not be contained, he altered his movements. He began to lay one hand, ever so gently, right amidst the bubbles. He then moved his hand outwards across the surface of the water, traveling this time with the bubbles, matching their speed and direction, until they disappeared. He repeated this motion, again and again.

The boy was lost for minutes in this process of gentle reverence. Every now and then he would look over the side of the tub. Once, he climbed out of the pool to look around and when his body collided with the cold morning air, steam rose off the surface of his skin. He then sat down and followed the bubbles with his hand, calmly and silently.

I myself have a son. I know his propensity towards movement. I found myself in awe of this boy’s capacity for stillness, his ability to stop moving long enough to pay reverent attention to something beyond himself, and his playful surrender of his movements to the object of his reverence.

This memory bubbled up into my mind yesterday, and I find myself captivated by it. It seems to bear an uncanny resemblance to the invitation “Be still and know Me”, which I believe God is extending to us as a community. When it comes to God, our first instinct is to spread our arms wide and attempt to gather God into us. But what if, for a change, we just stopped moving? What if we became still and watched how the bubbles are moving? What if we placed ourselves within the stream of those bubbles, and let ourselves be moved, rather than trying to move them?

What if we stopped trying so hard to hold onto God? What if we began to notice where God’s presence is bubbling up around us? What if we were to simply lay ourselves in the midst of that presence and move along with God? Where would this take us? Who would we become? Where would we go?

Invitations require a response. In response to God’s invitation to “Be still, be attentive to me, so that you might know me”, we will be pausing as a community to simply attend to God. This will be our focus on Sundays for the month of November. We will take the time to stop and look at the images of God we have within us, and the images of God in scripture that are deep wells of encounter and healing for us.

However, I’d like to deepen our response to this invitation. I would like to carve out some time in our communal life this month to practice the discipline of “Stillness”. I propose we experiment with pushing the pause button. I propose we playfully and collaboratively attempt to stop moving and increase our attentiveness to the movement of God in and around us. Here are two options I’ve come up with, but please let me know if you can think of others:

“Stop and Go” — Since it is almost impossible to get little kids to stop moving of their own accord, this option allows people with small children to “stop” and then “go” together, praying and listening along the way. We will gather at Kingfisher Farm on Thursday mornings @ 10 for the month of November and take a walk to the beach and back, praying as we go.

“Stillpoint” — On Tuesday nights from 8-9, at the Shiloh Shelter on Kingfisher Farm, there will be space for stillness and prayer. We will begin and end the time with a brief liturgy, but the time in between will be yours to do with as you please. We each pray differently. There will be music, images, things to touch and move, scripture, and prayer suggestions available. You may use all or none of them. The space is yours.

I leave you with this invitation from the book of Revelation:

“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let them who hear say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let them come; and whoever wishes, let them take the free gift of the water of life.” Rev 22:17

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