The Spirit communicates through art. I hear God in music which can lift me up to a higher place or bring me down to a calm and relaxed place. I see the Spirit in visual art. I stood about six inches away from a very famous painting by Monet, close enough to see the brush strokes. The Spirit was certainly working through that artist on the day he painted it.
You might be wondering, what does God say when he speaks to me? The Spirit says lots of things, really. But, one thing that has come through loud and clear lately is, “Be still, bequiet.”
Initially, I was troubled by this phrase until I remembered that to God all hearts are open, all desires are known, and to him there are no secrets. I imagine that God knows what I am about to pray, besides recalling everything that I’ve ever prayed. With God like that, itwould make sense that the Spirit would sometimes say, “Be quiet.”
But there’s more to it. The command, “Be still and be quiet”, to me is what the psalmist wrote in Psalm 46:10,“Be still and know that I am God.” The “be still” islike God telling me to sit down – take a load off. “And know” translated in my heart as, “be quiet”, is followed quickly by the great I AM.
God is of the present moment; not the God “I was”, or “I will be”, but God who is I Am. In sum total, then, the words of the Psalm to me are be still, be quiet, and know me. God assumescontrol and that is comforting.
Sometimes when I pray, I move around, I think too quickly, I fidget and worry to God about the future. And, sometimes I think that if I pray with better words, or more passion, that X will happen. No, says God. Please, sit down, and stop talking.
It’s like a waiter saying to a guest, “Please be seated, your food will be out soon, and the show is about to start” with God as the servant and me as the guest. Being a professional clergyperson, I like to think of myself as the servant to God when, in fact, Christ“came not to be served, but to serve”. (Matthew 20:27-29and Mark 10:44-46)
When the Spirit says, “be still, be quiet” I hear God saying that I need to be waited on. I need to stop and listen. The great drama of life is about to unfold and the Kingdom of God is coming near -- just sit, watch, and listen.
My Lenten practice is to do more sitting and less talking. Maybe the Spirit is saying this to you, too.
May God bless you with stillness, quiet confidence, and may you hear the Spirit speaking to you,
- Fr. Dave