Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Preach One: Be Still and Know...

Friday Evening at KKQ 2011, Evening Prayer
Psalm 139:10-17, Isaiah 30:15

"This is NOT a conference.  It is a RETREAT," Varian told us last night as we gathered, winter weather weary, in the Fireplace Lounge for our first event of the Kanuga Knitting and Quilting Conference Retreat.  "Take your time," our instructors have said.  "It's okay," they tell us, even as we frog a row of stitches or rip out a backwards seam.  "Just enjoy..."

Indeed, how often do we get to sit all day by a crackling fire with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, in the company of such fine friends?  How often do we get to spend the whole day arranging wonky circles or knitting (and re-knitting) swirls?  How often do we get to stop and really notice what we're doing, rather than rushing to get it done?  How often do we get to stop and notice what others are doing, listen to stories, be attentive to laughter, watch shadows move across snow?


Too often our attention is turned in at least a thousand other directions, usually all at once.  Letters to respond to, emails to send, bills to pay, errands to run, meals to cook, plans to make, phone calls to return...and all this in the midst of working, parenting, volunteering, traveling, cleaning...

How often do we get to be still and know?  We are here, blessedly, on retreat.  We are here to notice.  To be attentive to the patterns we see.  Where are there threads and textures and colors in our work?  In our midst?  Where is there light?  Where is there dark?  Where is there busy-ness?  Where is there spaciousness?  Where are there stories?


Our stories, our lives, and our loves are linked together in the sacred time and space of this weekend.  We are here to learn together, and not just from the remarkable instructors in our midst.  Be still and know, God says, know that I am God...don't we need to learn this, too?

This is not a conference, it is a retreat.  Even as we are attentive to the works in our hands, let us not forget to take time also to be still, to retreat into the patterns of our own hearts and spirits and be attentive to what is there.  Where are there threads and textures and colors deep within us?  Where is there light within our hearts?  Where is there dark?  Where is there busy-ness?  Where is there spaciousness?  Where are there stories?  Where is God?


In Made for Goodness (And Why This Makes All the Difference), a book he co-authored with his daughter, Mpho, Archbishop Desmond Tutu imagines that if we were still, if we listened God speaking in our hearts, we might hear God say:

My child, I made you for myself...I delight in you...
My heart aches...when you smother joy under the onslaught of busyness...

You run everywhere looking for life,
Searching for the life of life.
All the while I am here.
I am as close as a prayer.
I am breathing in your breath...

3 comments:

mississippi artist said...

I often think of those words--be still and know, but most of the time I keep on rushing about.I need to really apply myself to stopping and being still when I hear God whispering this in my ear. Thanks for reminding me.

Cathy said...

I like being reminded that there are places for our spaces- thanks!

Sara Castelli said...

Speaking on listening, one day I had such a sore throat, I did not particpate in the service, but, rather, sat and listened. I was amazed at what I say every Sunday. It has a lot of meaning that I think I don't always "get" when I speak my part. Now, some Sundays I LISTEN and I know God speaks to me when I am quiet. Maybe I should be quiet more often!