Those who trust in God are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. – Psalm 125:1 (NRSV)
In high school, I came across the work of the Buddhist monk and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh. Almost immediately, I adopted one of his common meditations: “Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain. Breathing out, I feel solid.”
Blown about by the changing winds of adolescent hormones, high school politics, and the stormy relations of teenagers and their parents, I reached out toward the promise of stability I found in these words. The hope of connecting to something large enough, weighty enough to not be so easily moved.
Walking the crowded halls between class, facing a break-up, slamming the door to my room, I repeated that prayer.
Here at the end of 2021, I find myself in need of that solidity even more than then. Changing winds does not begin to capture the tumult of the last twelve months, the sense of upheaval. Just a scroll through the day’s headlines is enough to leave me unmoored.
But Psalm 125 offers a similarly grounding breath prayer: “Breathing in, I see myself as Mount Zion. Breathing out, I cannot be moved.”
This season of Advent is a touch stone, an opportunity to breathe, and let that breath ground us in something bigger and weightier than ourselves. Something more solid and substantial than our moment.
Breathe in. See yourself as part of a story whose deep roots can weather any storm. Breathe out, you are grounded in a hope which will still abide when this year has been uprooted and blown away. A hope which abides forever.
Trusting in you, I shall not be moved.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.