Tag Archives: Psalm 46

The Prophet Amos Addresses the Legislature

Camden, New Jersey is one of the poorest citie...

Image via Wikipedia

Listen to this, you who grind the destitute and plunder the humble, you who say,
“When will the new moon be over so that we may sell corn? When will the Sabbath be past so that we may open our wheat again, giving short measure in the bushel and taking overweight in the silver, tilting the scales fraudulently, and selling the dust of the wheat; that we may buy the poor for silver and the destitute for a pair of shoes?”
The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
I will never forget any of their doings.       Amos 8: 4-7

A new day coming, change breathing fear and conflict down our necks, we bow before the gods of Scarcity and Me First. An old order, feverish, on its death bed, hollers, flails, clutches its bedclothes with restless fingers, and sees leering phantoms rise from its bedpan.

A cry rises up out of Egypt. Here in this land the child of Compassion once found safety from another ruler’s wrath.

“Let our people go!” rings out in Libya. Rulers tremble. Politicians abandon reason and rush to protect their interests. The homeless crowd the streets. The sick are told to leave their sheltered care and fend for themselves. And truth, which finds its voice, its shape, its story, its song in art,

is silenced

as the rich and powerful cling to their gold.

A huge share of the nation’s economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. The average income for the bottom 90 percent of us? $31,244.

Tell them this.

Put down this.

Be still.

Or be stilled.

And Know who I Am.

And know this –

there are rules:

Love, serve, and trust God rather than trusting systems which exploit and destroy life in its many forms.
Take care of neighbors. Welcome, respect, and protect the stranger, the alien, and the orphan. Look out for the weak, children, women, and the elderly.
Don’t kill each other, or steal or tell lies about each other. Don’t be unfaithful to your commitments to each other.
Don’t engage in practices which exploit or prey upon the vulnerable.
Once a week back away from the system of anxious scarcity, production, and consumption. Stop working and rest. Do not allow your life to be defined by endless producing and doing, and no being.

and there are consequences:

I will not forget any of your doings. 

 

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46: 10 NIV

morningprayer

 

 

 


.

With gratitude to the prophets, Joel and Amos, and modern prophet and Biblical scholar,Walter Brueggemann and his book, Journey to the Common Good
The Sanctuary Foundation for Prayer
Read more about prayer www.fromholyground.org,
Contact the author lross@fromholyground.org, www.fbook.me/sanctuary
Follow at http://twitter.com/lfross
Advertisements

Rx for a Crisis

The man, unemployed for two years now, leans his elbows on the kitchen table, puts his face in his hands and weeps.
Be still and know that I am God.

The family, numb with shock and grief, stare into the abyss the sudden death of their child has opened before them.

Be still and know that I am God.

The couple – run ragged with work, child care, and keeping up with the Joneses – gaze across the room at each other and wonder how their love turned to resentment and anger.

Be still and know that I am God.

All the while the nation’s public discourse rages on with the clamor and clang of opinions, self righteous indignation, and attack.
Be still and know that I am God.
So much of our lives seems to be fueled by fear and hyperbole, or hype, as the word has morphed into. The fear and anxiety tend to compress our perception into narrow tunnel vision and demand that we act immediately, often at the expense of reasoned consideration, and gathering all the facts. Hyperbole, the fetching sister of fear, exaggerates, escalates, and glamorizes her brother. We feed on sensationalism, scandal, and worst case scenarios.
In the context of this culture of fear and hype, when we encounter the pain and loss of being human, in whatever form it shows up in our life, we may feel overwhelmed, isolated, or ashamed.
Our times are difficult. We face as individuals, as a nation, and as global citizens immense challenges. People are suffering. The planet is suffering. We must act and act wisely. Will our action, our response to the crises we face, rise from our faith or our fear? Will the choices we make be fueled by hysteria, anger, discouragement, or the wisdom and grace of something greater and mightier than we?
Be still and know that I am God. Well, what good will that do? Is that going to improve the job opportunities in my town? Is that going to bring back our son from the grave? Is that going to bring back the love and joy we used to know as a couple?
No. It may or may not change the crisis you are facing. However, it will change you. Absolutely. Being still and knowing that God is God and you are God’s creation will shift how you perceive yourself in the midst of your crisis, and how you perceive the crisis itself.
Being still and knowing that God is God will establish you in the depths of God’s Being within you. Here you will discover a strange peace that doesn’t make sense, that passes all understanding as St. Paul wrote (Philippians 4:7). You will begin to live and act and make decisions from that deep well of peace, rather than your fear and anxiety.
The New English Bible translates this verse from Psalm 46 in this way: Let be then: learn that I am God. Let things be as they are, stop strategizing, blaming, figuring out solutions, or how to get even. Stop your action and thinking. Be in that energetic stillness that is God’s presence within you.
In doing this you will learn that God dwells within you, speaks within you, and is moving in your life and world. You are not in charge, never have been. You do not have to figure this all out and get it right somehow. Relax. Trust.
God is our shelter and our refuge,
a timely help in trouble;
so we are not afraid when the earth heaves
and the mountains are hurled into the sea,
when its waters seethe in tumult
and the mountains quake before his majesty.
There is a river whose streams gladden the city of God
which the Most High has made his holy dwelling;
God is in that city; she will not be overthrown,
And he will help her at the break of day.
The Lord of hosts is with us,
the God of Jacob is our refuge.    from Psalm 46


Become a fan of the The Sanctuary Foundation for Prayer

Read more about prayer at www.fromholyground.org

www.theprayinglife.wordpress.com
Tracking Holiness – Newsletter
Contact the author at  lross@fromholyground.org, www.fbook.me/sanctuary
Follow at http://twitter.com/lfross

Learning to Sit in a Room Alone

..all man’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly
in a room alone.  Blaise Pascal

After living over sixty years in the same house, my ninety six year old mother recently moved. We had cajoled, pleaded, and argued with mom about a move for some time. The more we talked the more resistant she became. We brought in her pastor, a beloved nephew, her doctor, and her friends to convince her of the merits of assisted living. Once I tricked her into visiting a place “just to check it out, mom, see what it’s like.” She pronounced that the wallpaper was horrible and remained adamantly against moving anywhere beyond her own backyard.

Home health aides came five days a week. She received meals on wheels and wore a bracelet on her wrist with a button to connect her to emergency assistance. She spent most of her time alone in her room drinking her tea, keeping an eye on the neighbors, and watching the birds and squirrels through the long Iowa winter.

“I know what these places are like,” she told me. “They dope you up. I’ve spent a lot time in these homes.” She had – first, with my bedridden, great Aunt Ethel, then my grandfather, and finally my father. She chuckled telling the story of going to see Dad one time and finding a resident sitting next to him holding his hand. My father, even with Alzheimer’s, always cut a fine figure with the ladies. As mother walked up to bring him some ice cream, the woman looked at mom sternly and asked, “Well, who are you?!” “I am his wife,” mom told her.

The last time I tried to convince mom to move, she silenced me with the words, “Why should I leave here when I am so content? I have everything I need.”

Well, yes. Why should she leave? How rare to be content and feel you have everything you need. She lived through the Great Depression and missed out on many things most of us would call necessities. In her deprivation she had mastered the priceless art of being content with what she had.

As my siblings and I prayed and fretted, God intervened. Compression fractures in her back and being in so much pain she couldn’t leave her chair accomplished a move for mom. She was carried off to a place, as Jesus told Peter, “You do not wish to go.” (John 21: 18) A week later, settled in at the care center, mother said, “This is a good place. They are very good to me here. The food is good. It is wonderful they have places like this.”  When we asked her if she wanted us to get her a TV for her room, she declined saying, “Oh I watch TV out in the common area. I have everything I need here.”

Some days I look out on the world and see a bunch of self righteous, entitled brats, all pushing, shoving, and scheming to get what “what’s owed them.” Other days I see the fear and desperation of people with shallow roots, who must hold themselves up with external supports of power, influence, possessions, and success.  I recognize the brats and the shallow rooted, because it takes one to know one. Daily I face the temptation to shore myself up with the perishable things of this world. I know the thirsty grasp for water of those with shallow roots.

Without a vibrant interior life and a self deeply connected to Goodness in whatever name one gives it, we do not fare well in seasons of loss, storm, and disaster. Without the ability to be self reflective and to enjoy the company of one’s self, I am a prisoner chained to a cell built of my own insatiable neediness.

I heard a story recently about psychologist Carl Jung who once advised a very busy and successful man, who came to him for treatment, to spend time each evening alone. The man returned to the Dr Jung to report he felt no better. He had shut himself up in a room, read, and listened to music. Jung told him, no – no reading, no music. He was to do nothing, just be with himself. The man protested that he could not possibly do that. He didn’t like being with himself. Dr Jung responded, “Why this is the self you have been inflicting on others for fourteen hours a day. If you cannot stand to be with it, how can you expect others to?”

You need not leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen. Simply wait. You need not even wait. Just learn to become quiet and still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.     Franz Kafka

When the time comes, when I am carried where I do wish to go, I want to be like mom.

So I practice. Each day I sit in my room, learning to become quiet and still and solitary. By golly it happens: the unmasked world rolls in ecstasy at my feet, whooping and hollering. I do not lie. I feel as indulged and pampered as a first class tourist on a cruise ship. I have everything I need. The world has no choice. It will scintillate, dance, and shimmy in delirious exaltation of its creator.

Go ahead. Take a seat and wait for the show to begin.

Be still and know that I am God.
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.
I am exalted in the rooms of the old.
I am exalted in the cell of the prisoner.
I am exalted in the ruins of the city.
I am exalted in the penthouse and palace.
I am exalted in the peasant hut.
Everywhere and always
I am exalted in my kingdom
which you will find within you.
Be still
and know. Based on Ps 46:10

www.fromholyground.org

Contact Loretta at
lross@fromholyground.org, www.fbook.me/sanctuary

Follow at http://twitter.com/lfross

Become a fan of the The Sanctuary Foundation for Prayer