Pastor Mark’s eNote – Peace! Be Still!
The words cut through the chaos and echo across the quieted water. A storm, a sleeping Savior, a panicked plea, and the words, “Peace. Be still.” Speak those words again, O Lord, to our frenzied world and our restless spirits.
I look at the words so simple, and I wonder: Are the two ideas synonymous? I mean, I have known nights perfectly still and silent when I have lay awake, my mind a storm of thoughts. Indeed, sometimes I wonder if we prefer noise, distractions, even chaos, to quiet calm, lest in the stillness we find ourselves alone with, well, ourselves. Who am I? What matters? Where is peace?
On the other hand, I have felt very much at peace in scenes that were hardly still—family and kids, sports or celebrations. I have found a strange serenity in the noise of others, in the presence of a crowd. I guess it is the shared identity and common purpose that makes the difference, or maybe it is the simplicity of being with others.
But to know peace and stillness at once, that is another matter. Sitting beside the water perhaps or watching the sun set behind mountains or holding a sleeping baby in one’s arms—such moments are like diamonds found in gravel, beautiful for their rareness. Maybe we can carve out a moment of our day for devotion or quiet prayer—it is a wonderful habit—and such moments can make a real difference in our day. But they are not our day.
I identify with the panicked disciples, but I want to be the one asleep in the stern, undisturbed by shifting seas or gusting gales. I want to know the peace that no worries can dissolve, the stillness that is of the soul, whatever the surroundings. I want to KNOW the peace, that I might BE the peace—calm hope when all are panicked.
I don’t ask for much.
Speak the words to my soul, O Lord, that I might speak the words to your world. Grant me the certainty of your eternity, the grace of your presence, the assurance of your promise, and when winds blow and lightning flashes, within or without, your love, always your love. Amen.
Rev. Mark Westmoreland