Monday, July 18, 2011

You have only to keep still

Today we reach the well-known section of the Exodus story where the people are complaining about being brought out of Egypt. Pharaoh, and his chariots, and charioteers are closing in and Moses give them a simple instruction. You have only to keep still. In the midst of all the drama of the exodus story this simple instruction can go unnoticed. We remember the parting of the sea, the walls of water, but who remembers Moses telling them to keep still. After all, keeping still is hardly good movie material.

For us, to be still is difficult on two levels. First on the simply physical and mental level, meditation of contemplation may the most difficult forms of prayer. To still our bodies and our minds for even 10 mins when we first begin this practice can seem an eternity. We feel compelled to be busy.

The other aspect of the stillness to which Moses calls the people is trust. To keep still and do nothing requires an absolute trust in God. For everything there is a season. In some situations, to be a good Christian is to act, and non-action can be a sin of omission. In other situations, the best thing we can do is nothing.

How do we know which is which? Here we come full circle. Only by stilling ourselves and carefully examining our motives and listening carefully to our conscience, can we hope to know the right course.

Today try to find a few moments of stillness to rest in God. Doing nothing may be the most important thing you do all day.