Last Sunday we gathered around the table. We opened in prayer. And then it was a little different. As was warned in the blog post last week — the flow for last Sunday was a little different, instead of checking in with our homework/lifework we began with scripture.
First I read Psalm 46:10a, “Be still, and know that I am God.” And then we heard read all of Psalm 46. And then again we heard, Psalm 46:10a, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
And then there was silence. Extended silence. At least 150 seconds of it (2 & 1/2 mins). *Note: indeed we all survived.* And following the silence, the invitation was to share whatever the Holy Spirit might have highlighted in the Psalm (or you), and/or to share about the “star” word that had received earlier in this year.
Before going further I must share that sharing silence at the table with all there was a gift. There was (at least seemingly) a spirit of peace & calm. Most experienced the silence with eyes closed, and while I don’t know if hearts were beating overly fast, if palms were starting to sweat, if minds were just racing racing racing — there appeared to be a moment at least of peace. AND when folks began sharing, the rush of life that can seemingly creep in seemed to stay at bay, it was like in the silence — the intentional with everyone stopping — we were able to slow the flow of time we shared — it was noticeable and it was a gift.
There was a mix of the sharing. Including one sharing their word of “Acclaim” (a definition of being to praise enthusiastically & publicly) fit perfectly with Psalm 46 — as the Psalm invites & instructs us to notice, to see what God has done & to know that God will be praised — that God will be Acclaimed! Another shared how their word “Participation” seemed both to affirm what they had been doing and then also to invite them to engage even more with new possibilities & they are learning (& we might too) different ways to be a support to families in challenging circumstances & in offering space & volunteers to help facilitate daily visitations with families going through court situations.
And much of the conversation centered a bit on “being still” — and considering what that means, how that looks. There was the naming of not being still well. There was the mention that minds keep on running — even if we look on the outside as though we are still. And then thematically hunting came up more than once, with the hunters among us naming an ability to be present while hunting — that when out of “typical” spaces, when not at home doing all the things — that there was the ability to be still — to be attentive — to be present in a way where there were not the typical distractions. And this is something to hold a bit longer…in scripture Jesus sends folks out (Sending of the 72 — see Luke 10:1-23) with nothing extra; “Do not take a purse or bag or sandals;” (Luke 10:4a)…did Jesus understand how when we accumulate much (really anything more than what we actually need) that each “thing” accumulated makes being able to focus singularly more different? Was Jesus perhaps trying to help with focus, with our easily distracted minds/lives by equipping the 72 (us) for success by expecting us to venture forward without any extra? These are worthwhile questions (insights), invitations to drop that which is not necessary and to see what we then hear (from God).
We didn’t answer what stillness is. But we did end with a (most delightful) homework assignment that invites us into (at least) silence (if not also stillness):
- Daily 2.5 minutes of silence (maybe even some will try 5!) Whenever — but be silent/still and see what comes, see what God might be saying.
That’s all … super easy right? (And there was part of the conversation that invited us to not be cranky-pants — and perhaps being silent/still can help us out a bit with that! 🙂 )
In Christ ~
Rev. Sabrina Slater