Be Still and know that I am God . . .
There is a very ancient story, found in some version or other, in many religious traditions. It goes something like this.
Once upon a time there were three brothers. In the fullness of time their parents died and they were left to decide what to do with their lives. ‘I am going to nurse the sick and cure the injured and reform the health service,’ said the first: ‘it only needs a bit of energy and enthusiasm and all its problems will be solved.’ And, without delay, or pause for thought, he rushed out.
‘Everywhere I go,’ said the second, ‘I see people at loggerheads, arguing and fighting, road rage and trouble. I am going to reconcile them. I shall force them to be friends and lead peaceful, kindly lives.’ And he too packed his belongings, and full of enthusiasm, hurried off.
‘I think I’ll stay here,’ said the third brother.
After a couple of years the two brothers returned.
‘It’s hopeless,’ said the first. ‘I can’t cope, there are too many problems, as fast as one gets sorted out a new one arises. I give up.’
‘Well what about me?’ said the second, ‘I’m torn to shreds, I can’t sort out even a few of the world’s problems. I have no peace in myself , let alone any to bring to others.’
The third brother got up and filled a bowl with muddy water. ‘What do you see?’ he said. ‘A muddy bowl of water.’ ‘Let it stand quietly,’ advised the third brother.
Later they looked again and sure enough it was clear and bright, for the mud had settled. The brothers could see themselves, as in a mirror. ‘When the water is always being disturbed, it’s muddy,’ said the third brother, ‘Nothing is clear. It is the same with you. Only when you are still and reflective can you see the way you should go. Only then can you know your true selves.’
The story is not saying that caring for the sick or acting as a peacemaker is wrong. It is saying that we cannot help others if all we offer is busyness and frustration. We are all tempted to think we must always ‘do’. As Christians it is also important to ‘be’. The summer is soon upon us! (I hope.) A time for many to take time off. May it give us all the opportunity to ‘be still and know . . .’
Have a lovely holiday whether you are ‘vacationing’ or ‘staycationing’ and give yourselves a chance to re-fuel your engines for the winter that will surely come!
The Last Word
Be still and know . . . But they walked and they ran, And they marched and they rode, And they flew and they drove, And they bussed and they commuted.
Be still and know that . . . But they gathered and they met, And they communed and they congregated, And they assembled in circles, And lined up in rows and they organised.
Be still and know that I . . . But they conversed and they spoke, And they shouted and they shook, And they cried and they laughed, And they murmured and complained.
Be still and know that I am . . . But the marchers went forward And the buses rolled on, The circles went round, The lines kept moving, And the shouts and the sighs And the laughter and the cries, And the murmurings and the complaints, Grew louder and stronger Whirling and swirling Faster and faster Until suddenly . . . it stopped. . .
And everybody fell off.
Be still and know that I am God.
[ author unknown
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