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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Be still and know that I am God....Psalm 46.10

Icon of Jesus the Prince of
Peace at the Abbey
Be still..... easier said than done.  I try to stop and pray and my mind begins to race with things to be done and how I'm going to accomplish it.  Be still ..... so difficult.  And yet perhaps the key to this little verse from Psalm 46 is what comes next--"and know that I am God."  Ah, there is the key.  You see if God is God, then I am not!     I don't have to worry about the polar ice caps or the famine in Ethiopia or the latest terror attack in Manchester--I simply trust that God is fully aware, at work in the midst of these rather worrisome things already and my job is simply to be open as to how God might give me the opportunity to be at work in these things as well.  You see the call to trust in God is not a call to apathy or disengagement in the world, it is rather a call to participate without the egotistical anxiety that somehow everything hinges on me!   This week I spent time at Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside, a Benedictine monastery.  I spent considerable time in prayer.  I prayed for hours in the sanctuary and walking the way of the cross outside.  I prayed so long, not because of my piety, but because I had so much to let go of and allow God to be God.  I used a prayer that I have taught many over the years--the prayer of relinquishment.
  It's very simply, you pray about something of great concern.  You speak out loud with your hands in front of you, palms facing upward and you feel the weight of the anxiety you carry.   Then you repeat the same prayer, and as you list all the things that you find worrisome, you slowly turn your palms from facing up to facing down, as if you are letting a burden drop through your hands.  You end the prayer with the statement, "and all these things are too much for me and so I trust them to you Holy God to carry them for me.   As for me I'll be here ready to do my part, but allowing you to be God and let you have the burden!"   
The way of the cross is a wonderful way to pray
with your whole body at work.

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