“Be Still. Be Well.”

“Be still.” Jesus said, “Be well.” With these simple words, spoken to a person and a community experiencing illness, I hear a summons to find healing in the act of being fully present. When we intentionally practice pausing– noticing, letting what is, be—we deepen our own capacity to be present at any time and place. This commitment to be available, to be open, to be “here,” is the path to wellness, according to Jesus.

Here we are, infected.

We are infected with COVID 19 and infected with grief and trauma. We are infected with an unsustainable relationship to our earth and her gifts. We are infected with the urge to scapegoat, blame and punish when what is needed is to connect, heal and restore. In all this pain and struggle, God is calling to us, Be still and know. Know there a river whose streams make glad the city of God. Know this river of love and life is here for us now.

In her book The Wisdom Jesus, Cynthia Bourgeault proposes that we receive the life of Jesus as a sacrament. A sacrament, in the thinking of the church, is defined as

“an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.” Across the church, we have some minor disagreements bout the sacraments. Are there two or seven? Who is authorized to offer them? Who is welcome to receive them? Can they happen virtually?

Bourgeault points us toward what’s actually important, explaining that:

A sacrament does not merely symbolize a spiritual reality; it lives that reality into existence. . . . Jesus’ life, considered from this stand point, is a sacrament: a mystery that draws us deeply into itself and, when rightly approached, conveys an actual spiritual energy empowering us to follow the path that his teaching has laid out.  (Chapter 8, “Incarnation”)

Friends, we have Jesus, our sacrament, who, in this time of infection and isolation, reaches his hands, offers his heart, and gives his life for us. He is the path of peace on which we walk together through these frightening, disorienting times, when the earth is changing, the mountains are shaking in heart of the roaring sea, when the nations are in an uproar and the kingdoms are tottering.

I invite you now, those here on the Zoom call, and those watching the livestream, to share how you are pausing in these days. How you are hearing and heeding the voice of Jesus?

“Be still; be well.”