Monday, March 28, 2011

March Madness

Well, it's that time of year, a time of crazy activity, of unexpected occurrences, of joys and disappointments: the college basketball turnaments are in full swing. Nobody expected VCU and Bulter to be in the final four this year - what a surprise! None of the four top seeds made it to the final four - that hasn't happened in years. Who will win the big game on Monday night? At this point it's up for grabs (personally, I'm pulling for VCU, although I'm guessing Kentucky is more likely). Who's the most dominant player this year? I think it's Brittany Griner for the Baylor Bears women's team. She's awesome. Not everyone likes college basketball and the term "March Madness" might have different connotations for them. My mother used to do spring cleaning - moving all the furniture so as to get in those corners and tight spots, dusting thoroughly, washing, vacuuming, and airing out the house. I don't know if anybody does that anymore. Perhaps one's individual March madness is of a different sort - accountants are up to their necks in income tax preparations with a deadline in less than three weeks. Parents might be busy making plans for what to do with their kids during the summer months and teachers are slogging through those final weeks until the school year is over. Young people are busy with upcoming exams, papers due, grades to try and improve while there's time, maybe work or chores at home. Our lives are often busy like that, overloaded with activities and responsibilities; it's not confined to March. Psalm 46 says "be still and know that I am God." It's more of a command than a request, which is a good thing for us. Maybe a strong word straight from God telling us "be still" will cut through our objections - all the reasons we haven't the time for stillness, for quiet, for finding space to breathe and listen. "Be still" - put aside the business, the madness, the endless tasks that need to be accomplished. Take a long bath, go for a walk, read a book, sit quietly and let your mind wander, listen to music that lifts your spirit. It's not really optional, not if we want to function well and be fully human. We need time to be still. "...and know that I am God." That's the second part of the assignment. It justifies the first part. We can be still because we are not God and the world will not fall apart if we take a break. God is God; God keeps the world running; God provides for our needs; God guides us and those we love (and even those we don't love). We need to remember that - it lightens our load, it restores our sense of awe at the created world, it comforts and strengths us to know that God is near, that the world is in God's hands. "Be still and know that I am God." What a relief - we don't have to do it all! We don't have to drive ourselves crazy with the madness of daily life. We can rest, we can have a little time apart to be refreshed. God is at work; God is caring for the world and all its creatures. Most of the time we participate in God's work, in God's caring for creation. But there's a time - regularly - to step away from the pressures, the troubles, the hurry and hustle, and be still, knowing that God is God. Receive the gift - it comes, with love, from God to you. Peace, Pastor Kris

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