Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Pastor's Musings -- from Psalm 46 -- "Be still, and know that I am God"

Be still, and know that I am God
Psalm 46:10a, New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Psalm 46 is a Song of Zion.  Zion is another name for the city of Jerusalem.  The Songs of Zion celebrate Jerusalem primarily because of its special relation to Yahweh, the God of Israel.  Zion was “the city of our God” (Psalms 48:1-2, 8; 87:3), the object of God’s special love (87:2), chosen (78:68-70122:3-5132:13-18) and established (87:5) by Yahweh. Jerusalem, a symbol of unity for the scattered tribes of Israel, could not be seen in simple terms. This place was Yahweh's.  The second part of the name Jerusalem reminded the listener of the word shalom, meaning peace. The root of that word denotes completeness, wholeness and soundness.
“Be still and know that I am God” and we will sing of completeness, wholeness and soundness. 
Our theme for this newsletter is “Relax.”  We have a God and it is not us.  Knowing that God is God, and we are not, will invite us to seek opportunities to be whole.  My sermon on the last Sunday of Easter was focused in part on what it means to be whole. 
Wholeness includes an element of self-care.  A classical sermon illustration is the instruction we receive during our safety briefings on airplanes as it relates to oxygen masks:  place your own mask on first before helping others. 
Be still, let God be God, and take a moment (or five) to breathe deep and focus a little on self-care.  In Philippians 2, Paul invites the church in Philippi to “make my joy complete” by being like-minded with Jesus as our example.  Jesus strove to take care of himself, retreating often to places alone where he could pray and listen for God. 
We are going to try and model a little of that this summer.  The choir will take some time off, committees are encouraged to pick a month they won’t meet, and this particular newsletter is for both June and July.  Other examples could be offered up.  The key is to take a little time to relax, let God’s Holy Spirit be given a chance to re-enter our lives and invite us to “be still.”  Marilyn and I are going to travel which will include seeing children and grand-children but also seeing Utah.  We have as we start our fourth year here at Hilltop not seen much of the state outside of the Salt Lake Valley. 
We invite everyone to slow down and reestablish relationships and practices that help make you whole.  Self awareness is a critical element of our Christian walks and pausing to discern what it is that makes you whole, makes you complete, makes you sound is essential.  Allow your spiritual tanks to be supplied, use this summer as an opportunity to first place on your own oxygen mask before trying to help others. 
Relax and let God be God.  Sing a Song of Zion, a simultaneously simple idea embedded within a framework of rich meaning and context.  Be still and know that God is God. 

Selah, Pastor Dennis