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Be Still

Psalm 46:2-3
NRSV: Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah
Message: We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in seastorm and earthquake, before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains.
JPS: Therefore, we are not afraid though the earth reels, though mountains topple into the sea- its waters rage and foam; in its swell mountains quake. Selah

Joel 3 describes a scene of war, tumult and chaos as God prepares to judge the nations, “for the day of the Lord is near (v. 14). But God speaks promises of safety to God’s people, “the Lord is a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel” (v. 16). Even in this chaotic scene of God’s final judgment, God is a refuge for those who belong to him. Psalm 46 describes a similar scene, earthquakes and tsunamis, that inspire terror. But as in Joel, “ God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46: 1).

How can these words comfort us today? How can we not be afraid in the face of chaos, wars, disaster, disease, and all the pressing issues that rock us in our lives and create inner tumult, rush and roar? How can we find God’s promised refuge? God’s answer is “be still, and know that I am God (46:10). Doing a “Write” is a contemplative, prayerful way to still our thoughts, and connect with the abiding spirit of God within.

Read the entire Psalm 46. Set aside at least 15 undisturbed minutes. Use blank paper, sit upright in comfort and play music or sit quietly. Begin wherever your thoughts are, writing down whatever words are running through your mind, following them until a word “jars” or “draws” you, causing some kind of inner response. When this happens, write the question- “What does this mean? Then answer that question, and continue writing whatever comes to mind, or your emotions, or your memory. See where this goes. When the time is finished, sit in stillness, then prayerfully examine what you’ve written.
When feeling stirred up, upset, worried, or unsettled, a “write” can often help still our mind and find questions we may be wrestling with. Then we can ask God into our questions.