Last Friday night I led a Lenten spiritual retreat for a small group from my congregation. As a logistical note, let me recommend the Hollis Renewal Center for anyone in the Kansas City area. Our group found it to be a hospitable, Spirit-filled place. (And the prices are quite reasonable as well.)
I cannot begin to describe all that God did within and among us on this retreat. But I do want to share a meaningful message that I received. Toward the end of a brief solitary hike, I crossed over a suspension bridge. When I reached the middle of the bridge I stood still and felt the swaying motion slow and slow and finally stop. Eventually, the bridge was as still as I was.
Now I realize that this is not a new or miraculous phenomenon. It’s just that lately I’ve had some extra conflict in my church life and my home life. It feels like things are bouncing and swaying and they won’t settle down. Through those slowing ripples of motion on the bridge, the Holy Spirit spoke to me: Your frantic motion and worry only contribute to the swaying uneasiness. Be calm. Be still. And eventually all around you will settle as well.
This bridge is an image I carry with me now into my life that generally feels anything but still. That feeling of the sun, the breeze, the slow calming of the wood beneath my feet—this feeling is a gift from the One who is the source of true and abiding peace. The one who says, “Be still and know that I am God.”