Settle the body, still the mind, listen for the spirit…….
At our Habitat work day, after we got our safety talk, the leader asked for a volunteer to lead in prayer. All FUMC heads turned to me. As if to say, this is your expertise, this is what we pay you for, Margaret…so we don’t have to expose ourselves.
But prayer is exactly about exposing ourselves, about being vulnerable. In today’s reading St. Paul writes, in our weakness we do not pray as we ought. Weakness? We don’t like to think of our weakness—it’s downright un-American, when power is what it’s all about, showing strength through might. But as Jesus people we’re called into strength through weakness, and weakness is a fundamental posture of prayer; I have to admit my weakness to go deeper than my surface protected appearance, and to admit my weakness I need to shut up and get quiet, set aside all my distracting avoidance thoughts (as Chris said last week), and meet the “God who is down there in the middle of all we’ve hidden”.
This is getting connected with sighs too deep for words.
That phrase, isn’t only about when I’m speechless and don’t know what to say in prayer, this deep sigh is going to that connected place within, where we come to know with more than our heads, that God is unequivocally FOR us, that phrase recurs several times in our text, and that nothing, not even whatever you’re scared you’ll find in there, nothing can stop God loving us….and therein lies the strength of weakness.
We’re going to take some time of silence to experiment with this—don’t worry it won’t be long as I know this can be scary—and it’s a bit unusual to have much quiet in worship……..
Settle the body, still the mind, listen for the spirit
Gently move aside the distracting thoughts as they surface and let the Spirit meet you at the deepest place you’ll allow it to go…….
“Be Still” chant
Return with “Be Still” chant
And as you are ready, I invite you to leave the sanctuary of that holy place and come back into this external holy place…..and may you always know that you are inseparably connected to God, and deeply loved.