Still Not Still
A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat the boat. … Jesus rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. – Mark 4:37 & 39 (NRSV)
Have you ever tried to be completely still? You’d sooner sprout wings and fly.
No matter how static we become, the heart pumps, lungs breath, intestines digest. Our brain produces an endless stream of thoughts, sometimes a trickle, sometimes a fire hose. We fart and blink.
Not even inanimate objects are still: not the rock, not the chair, not the parked car. From the perspective of quantum physics (which I know very little about), subatomic particles are buzzing about at warp speed.
Sedentary or not, everything is a teeming dance of movement. True stillness, therefore, requires divine intervention as today’s passage makes clear. Stillness is akin to holiness.
When Jesus stilled the storm, he brought creation to a standstill, to the point of “dead calm,” which might have been the brink of non-existence, something only the Creator could pull off. That’s the point: Jesus had those creds.
I still recommend sitting quietly, at least once a day. It’s the best way I know to encounter the unstoppable miracle of life dancing through me … and then be moved to praise.
Matt Laney is the Senior Pastor of Virginia Highland Church UCC in Atlanta, GA and the author of Pride Wars, a fantasy series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers. The first two books, The Spinner Prince and The Four Guardians are available now.