The words of Psalm 46:10 have been on my mind a lot lately. It started with a book on Sabbath keeping that I am reading. That evolved into a sermon that I preached, not here at Fries Memorial, but at the Apple Blossom Festival at Willow Hill Moravian. I think it turned out to be a pretty good sermon, so I will probably preach it here, too.
But my thoughts from reading the book and preparing the sermon were all about the necessity of taking time out of our hectic, busy, over-scheduled lives and days and spending some time in quiet and stillness to reconnect with God. And while it is important that we do that, the things that keep us so busy, the things that keep us from being still and knowing that God is God, they are really insignificant. Just how insignificant they are was never more evident than it was as I learned of the horror that happened yesterday at the Boston Marathon.
We think that the things we do are so important, are so necessary, are so essential, that when we fail to do them, the world might stop. But what I realized as I saw the images and heard the stories of Boston, is that it is not what we do that is important. It is who we are that is important. It is our being who we are that is necessary. It is our being and not our doing that is essential. And when we allow the evil around us to cause us to stop being then the world indeed does stop.
We are God’s children. We are created in God’s image. We are redeemed by God’s love. When we take time to be still and know God, we are taking time to be reminded of who we are. But when we stop being who we are, when we allow the evil that surrounds us to paralyze us with fear and doubt, then the world stops.
The world stopped yesterday. If just for a few seconds, even fractions of a second, the world stopped in the midst of confusion and terror, as the bombs exploded and life was shattered. The world stopped. It’s happened before. When children and teachers were murdered as they went about their daily 1st grade routine. When two planes crashed into buildings and the towers fell to the ground. The world stops every time neighbors go to war against each other. The world stops when we fail to recognize that we are God’s children. The world stopped when Jesus cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” The world stopped when Jesus, hanging on the cross, said, “It is finished.” and then breathed his last. The world stopped.
But even in those moments when the world stops, even in those moments of terror and confusion and death, those moments when the world stops, it doesn’t end. It doesn’t even stay stopped. It starts right back up. It starts right back up when we remember who we are and we bend down to help a stranger get back on his feet. When we help a mother find her lost child. When we bind up one another’s wounds and wipe away each other’s tears, the world starts back up. Just as it did when Jesus breathed again and rose from death. The world began again when Jesus reclaimed his identity as God’s son. And the world begins again when we remember that we are God’s children, that we are created in God’s image and we are God’s beloved.
It’s is in those moments when the world stops that we need to be still and know that God is God. For even when the world stops, God does not. For even when we are paralyzed by fear and terror, God is active. And when we are still and we remember that we are created in God’s image, that we belong to God and not to the world, then the world starts moving again. And we start acting.
It is in those moments that we need to be still and know that God is God. Those are the times when God speaks to us and calls us into action. It is in those moments that we are still, when the world stops, that we can know God. It is in those moments that we can be, that we can be who God has created us to be. And when we know that God is God and that we are God’s children, then the world starts anew. Life replaces death, light replaces dark, hope replaces fear, joy replaces sorrow.
When the world stops- be still. Be still and know. Be still and know that God is God. Be still and know that God is God and God is here. Be still and know. Be still. Be.