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Stilling the Soul

Isaiah 49:8-16a
Psalm 131
Matthew 6:24-34

Three Scriptures, three invitations to still the soul. The psalm invites us to still and quiet our soul in God, as if we were resting on our mother’s breast, cradled in love, held in deep trust…listening to the familiar heartbeat of the One who gave us birth; the One with whom we are intimately connected. Imagine…..deep breath…..imagine….

Isaiah invites us to rest in the God of our liberation…in the God who desires fullness of life for us…”Even if a mother forgets her child….I will not forget you…..I have carved you on the palm of hand” ……Rest in the palm of my hand……Let me hold you there in your fear… your anxiety…….Imagine…. Deep breath….Imagine…..resting at peace in God’s hand….Imagine your “being” imprinted on the Divine….Imagine….Rest in God….Let your soul be at rest…Let your soul be quiet….let your soul be still….Let your soul be at peace….Come home to the one who loves you….Come home to your deepest self…Come home to powerful connection with Spirit….

Jesus too invites us to still our souls…to live in the NOW….to live free of anxiety….to come to stillness and peace in contemplating nature, in experiencing ourselves as part of something so much bigger….”Consider the lilies of the field”….”Consider the birds of the air”…says Jesus …..Do not live anxiously. Don’t make seeking security in possessions the centre of your life ….Live from sacred Centre…Seek first God’s way…God’s kingdom, God’s way of justice, and all the rest will follow…..

Consider the lilies of the field. Consider the birds of the air.

Have you taken the time to slow down and revel in creation lately?….?To open your senses to nature? To listen for how God might want to speak to you through creation? Jesus says that if we do, we will learn about God. We will learn to trust and not be so anxious.

If we considered the lilies of the field, what might we learn about God and about us? One of the first things we would learn is what happens inside us when we are silent…..when we are still…..when we slow down and take time….
We become contemplative with life….
We awaken to things around us that we have not been paying attention to…
We start to hear sounds…of birdsong, or wind in branches…or children playing, that we had missed in our hurriedness.
We start to see things differently. We notice the intricacy of each flower…the incredible wisdom, the beauty, the complexity that is in even the most common of flowers…. As we pay attention, something that we have taken for granted, and walked by countless times, we experience the miracle that each flower is…
And if just one flower is such a miracle…imagine the whole created order. No wonder so much of sacred writing speaks of creation as a holy place… We learn to savour the sights and sounds that remind us of God’s love and presence in our lives

As we consider the lilies of the field, the grasses that are here today and gone tomorrow, the birds of the air, we notice that diversity and incredible variety are part of God’s way; as is surprise! Some of those birds of the air, and the breath of the wind bring unexpected surprises to our gardens. Plants grow where we did not plant them, or can even imagine them coming from. Even if we think we can control what grows in our lawns and keep them neatly manicured, and controlled, we know that left to be, they would not look like they do under our controlling influence.

And we cannot miss the shocking abundance of creation…One seed dying in the earth, rises to growth of flower or fruit, Imprinted in each seed is the wisdom and intention of what it is meant to be. And then once grown it yields hundreds of seeds of generativity…No wonder there is such an outpouring of outrage against genetic engineering seeds so that they cannot reproduce. It feels so contrary to the nature of life.

Observing creation, we experience sacred abundance and know that it must be in the heart and nature of the One who creates; and who continues to create, for in being with nature, we know that it is a process that continues. All this is gift, generous gift from the heart of a generous God.

And then when we let ourselves slow down and still ourselves even more, we notice the deep connection between us and creation….We notice that there is a life force that is at work in the growth of flowers, that is at work in the life of every living thing, that is at work in the cycles of creation and that it is the same life force that is at work is in us….We connect because we are related, as aboriginal communities and mystics have been telling us since early times. We are part of a web of interconnection which we miss and forget about when we rush about in our anxiety, trying to control a world, that is not ours to control.

Perhaps we even begin to grasp a deep sense of the intelligence and the wisdom, and the love that is in this life-force which creates flowers…. birds…..and us…And if we stay with stilling our soul….if we stay with opening ourselves to creation…we connect with a deep wonder…with holy awe…. And if, as Jesus says, we seek first this kingdom of God…this interconnectedness of all living things, this abundance, this mutuality, this intention of fullness of life for all living things, then we cannot help but come to an awakening about how we need to live in the world.

In the words of our new Song of Faith of the United Church.

God is Holy Mystery,
beyond complete knowledge,
above perfect description.
in love,
the one eternal God seeks relationship.

So God creates the universe
and with it the possibility of being and relating.
God tends the universe,
mending the broken and reconciling the estranged.
God enlivens the universe,
guiding all things toward harmony with their Source.

Grateful for God’s loving action,
We cannot keep from singing. ……..

Finding ourselves in a world of beauty and mystery,
of living things, diverse and interdependent,
of complex patterns of growth and evolution,
of subatomic particles and cosmic swirls,
we sing of God the Creator,
the Maker and Source of all that is.

Each part of creation reveals unique aspects of God the the Creator,
who is both in creation and beyond it.
All parts of creation, animate and inanimate, are
All creation is good.
We sing of the Creator,
who made humans to live and move
and have their being in God.
In and with God,
we can direct our lives toward right relationship
with each other and with God.
We can discover our place as one strand in the web of life.
We can grow in wisdom and compassion.
We can recognize all people as kin.
We can accept our mortality and finitude, not as a curse,
but as a challenge to make our lives and choices matter.
In grateful response to God’s abundant love,
we bear in mind our integral connection
to the earth and one another;
we participate in God’s work of healing and mending creation.

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