Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Stillness in a frantic world

From my experience of business and from what I hear more recently, earning a living is a pretty frantic way of life. Many commute by train, plane or road, spending extra hours on the laptop, pad or mobile to catch up, stay in touch or feel needed. It seems to me being still simply does not figure in the modern way of life. Its all about getting the most we can out of every moment - every input, every piece of information, every experience ...

A business friend recently sent me some pictures of me in my early days in my last business role, at my desk, around me were the trappings of that life - phones, computers, I had several, whiteboard with time plans and schedules, to do lists and stick-it notes with yet more info. The other, sorting out an issue in one of the data centres, usually a rush on round the north circular (if rush was possible on that road). Every moment of my time was spoken for. There is a great danger in church life that we too nearly emulate the culture that we live among. Busy, busy, busy. Rating our achievements by the number of events, number of meetings or number of services we manage to put on or attend. Every moment accounted for!

In our church we have been looking at Nehemiah since Christmas, the start of his venture for God was started in prayer, took months of prayer and fasting to mature and continued in prayer and seeking God. A look at Jesus' ministry shows us that he too took time out to pray and be still.

The psalmist knew a good thing - "Be still and know that I am God", when all around is in turmoil - when the world is being shaken and troubled - God remains the same, the one we can look to and in whom peace and stillness may be found.

With a little stretch I can imagine Jesus, calling to us in the same way that he spoke to the waves that frightened those in the boat with them - disturbing their peace.

"Quiet!, be still"

Stillness in a frantic world is more important than ever in our churches - it cannot simply be about doing as much as we can, organising as much as we can, showing how hard we are working. It is, I think,  about hearing God like Nehemiah and investing time in quietly listening, focusing in on God. The key is that we have choices about how we live, how frantically or calmly we live and who pulls our strings.
Even as the waves and wind obeyed Jesus and were still, perhaps we need to take note of him and be still more often.