Still, Still, Still (video link)
Peace is not something I am feeling a lot of right now. In all honesty, it is not something I have often felt much since I got back from my sabbatical.
I guess I should have expected it. Ministry has always kept my calendar busy. My calendar is full of Sunday worship and programs, youth retreats, and meetings. Family has also kept my calendar busy. My calendar is full of taking kids to gymnastics, volunteering at their school (while they still want me there), and school work.
What I didn’t expect was that life would feel like having a foot in two canoes that are quickly drifting apart. As difficult as it was to rethink ministry in 2020, it has been equally difficult to rethink ministry in the shadow of 2020. Add this to the growing expectations and commitments of two young kids, and my soul isn’t used to this pace of life. But should it be?
Peace – as it was once explained to me – is not the absence of conflict; instead, peace is grounded-ness that defuses chaos. Peace can be found in the midst of chaos, but it does not cause or perpetuate it. Peace, in the midst of rushing from one thing to the next, reminds us to breathe. It’s one thing to know what peace means, but another to know where to find it.
Psalm 85 is a prayer for peace. In this psalm, the author wants to find peace and knows that it is found in God’s favor: “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.” The author knows that peace is found when we spend time in the presence of God. This is what I find missing from my calendar.
Music has always had a way of opening up my heart. There have been numerous times that I have heard a song and found myself caught off-guard with the emotion that it invoked. Last week, I came across a video we created for the 2020 online Christmas eve service. For me, this video is the essence of peace – a beautiful song (sung by our choir director Feliziti Pena) and a quiet setting, a moment of grounded-ness in the midst of chaos.
Peace can be hard to find, but the psalmist knew where to look and knew how important it was to find it. By his account, it is rather important for us to find a moment of grounded-ness in the midst of a chaotic time.