Days away from internet access brings a calmer reflection. Being in touch isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Out of touch with bad news brings relief to the body.
If living in the developed world means being on edge all the time, I’d prefer a less developed one — maybe a teepee with smoke signals for communication. Anxiety is real enough without the constant sting of bad news from far away and beyond my small sphere of influence.
Madison Avenue loves my anxiety. It preys on what can only be prayed about. An ad agency is no praying mantis! It loves green but its antennae hunt for the anxious selves who confuse wants with needs, buying the things we do not need if we believe we only exist by having them.
Stillness and being are not their thing. Selling is their game. They don’t pray. They prey on well-trained animals, ringing Pavlov’s bell for manufactured tastes and smells, while down on Wall Street Monday’s opening bell opens the door of hornets’ nest.
Like the praying mantis, the non-preying prayers live far from the bells. In touch with what’s worth much more than it’s cracked up to be: a less bad news world where humans live teepee-lives in touch with the body . . . in the stillness of time.
“Their aim is to confound the plans of the afflicted, but the LORD is their refuge.” [Psalm 14:6, The Book of Common Prayer]
Gordon C. Stewart, wilderness cabin, northern Minnesota, September 3, 2017
In this time of great restlessness many of us long for the “still small voice” heard by Elijah hiding in the cave of his own self-righteous pouting. This sermon was preached in a moment similar to this – the political campaign season of 2014 – and the search for stillness in a world gone mad. FYI, several of the members of this lovely church were in their 9os. They owned neither cell phone nor computer. They had no idea what a tweet was. But they knew experienced a stillness that sometimes comes with the wisdom of age. I post this here in honor of Carol and Maxine.
Grace and Peace,
Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, Minnesota, author of Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness, now available through Amazon, Wipf and Stock, Barnes and Noble, and your local bookstore.
While reflecting on Malachi’s strange metaphor of the refiner’s fire, Via Lucis’ post “Stillness Crieth Out” (re-posted here last week) re-focused the sermon. Here are the words from Malachi:
“Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way for me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? “For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fuller’s soap….” – Malachi 3:1-2.
Thank you, Dennis Aubrey and PJ McKay, for you splendid insights to to these grand Romanesque and Gothic sacred spaces that still bring the soul to stillness and wonder.