The Christian who knows his or her business is the Christian who has the freedom to return again and again into that silent unchanging presence – the hanged God, whose love, whose generosity, springs out of depths we can never imagine. It is the sounding of those depths that is the heart of the contemplative life . . . the contemplative who knows how to enter into the silence and stillness of things is, above all, the one who knows how to resist fashion and power to stand in God while the world turns. In that discovery of stillness lies all our hope of reconciliation. – Rowen Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, May 2010
“The people of God have a long history of reaching for technical change to remedy their difficulties, instead of the adaptive change God is calling out from their hearts and minds.
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and in trust shall be your strength. But you refused and said, “No! We will flee on horses” – therefore you shall flee! And, “We will ride upon swift steeds” – and therefore your pursuers shall be swift!
Isaiah 30: 15-16
Someone is always looking for a fast horse to save us from the hard work of learning, which requires us to face into our ignorance and vulnerability.”
Here on a late March day in 2020 with the mourning doves calling from their perches, the grass slowly greening, and robins hopping about the leaf mulch in the woods, some of us are given a most remarkable opportunity. The world is gripped with the ongoing crisis of the corona virus pandemic. We may wonder, Will I or my loved ones get it? Might we die from it?
Government and health department officials scramble to respond. Health care givers put on hazmat suits and masks. Others labor to provide the goods and services we have taken for granted. Some of us will reach out to neighbors and others in need and develop ways to tend the tissue of human connection, love and compassion. Nearly all of us are charged to stay home and do our best to stay healthy.
In our communal enforced solitude we may have just the right hermitage for facing into the truth of ourselves and going deeper into our prayer and silence. In the Winter issue of Holy Ground, which I wrote before the virus erupted, “Deep personal and communal changes are not something we roll up our sleeves and do. Such life-giving change is something that is done unto us.” Something certainly is being done to us all. What kind of changes might God be asking of you and your communities?
Here is the Winter Holy Ground issue which looks at grief and truth, transformation and hope. It starts with another story about that little fellow,
Forest Spryte, Esq. He showed up on my couch one morning.
But first do this now or soon.
Turn off your screens. Step away from daily tasks. Sit down. Be still. Listen. Yes you will fidget and worry. That is okay. Stay there a little longer, where God is waiting for you.
Notice your breathing. Feel your body. Be present to each moment, as best you can. Give up trying, thinking, and planning. And give yourself over to this great Mystery of Love which lives beyond words in silence. This is a love, which longs to be with you and be known by you. Allow the flowing Love and Mercy of God move through you. Surrender to your Beloved, who is beyond your knowing and to the peace that passes your understanding.
Here. Right here
in this sacred moment
of your infinitely precious life
is all you will ever need.