“Be still, and know that I am God”
Although not for all of us, for most people, July and August are the months in which our pattern changes, and our normal routines are suspended. Not only schools take a break, but also many reading and study groups don’t meet over the summer months and the number of administrative meetings is reduced. It is a time and opportunity to unwind, to pause and to reflect. Even if our lives are no longer dominated by school or work, it is important to change the way we use our time occasionally, although I’m not denying the significance of a regular pattern of living!
Firstly, refraining from our routine activities gives us the opportunity to make time for other things, such as visiting family or friends, or pursuing something we have always wanted to do. Also, it gives us a chance to reflect on our priorities: when the way we use our time is no longer given by our routine, we have to make choices how we want to spend the days or weeks.
It can be a daunting feeling, to step away from the security of our daily business, precisely because when we have a choice what we want to do, we need to reflect on where and who we are. People who have gone on a pilgrimage will almost certainly recognise this feeling. However unsettling the experience may be, often it is rewarded by an experience of freedom and a renewed sense of purpose.
So, whether you are travelling this summer to explore new landscapes and cultures, or are staying at home enjoying the beauty of the Wiltshire countryside – hopefully with some sunshine, I would encourage you to take some time to step away from the usual pattern of life. Go somewhere – it doesn’t need to be far or difficult – and pay attention to what is around you. Suspend the daily routine for a moment, pause and be still.
It is often in the stillness, sometimes daunting and overwhelming, that we discover something about ourselves and indeed discover something of God: “Be still, and know that I am God” as the Psalmist puts it. Take away the noise of daily life, be still, and it is there that God can be found. He who was there already, but it took us to look and listen to notice.