Pastor Shawn Hannon
Hope Lutheran Church, Arcade, NY
A few weeks ago my wife and children headed on vacation without me. I would join them several days later after fulfilling some work obligations, but first I had some quiet time to myself. Quiet time is rare in my life. This is both due to a life full of kids, work, and obligation, as well as to a personality that shuns downtime. I prefer to be doing. That’s what made these three quiet days so interesting.
I filled the first of the three quiet days with golf. 45 holes to be exact. Yes, I know that’s a lot. But when you are playing by yourself on a fairly wide-open golf course, anything is possible. All I learned from the rounds that I am pretty good at driving, hitting iron approaches, chipping and putting… just not at the same time.
The following day I planned to golf again, but was pretty golfed out. I’m sure you can imagine why. Instead I exercised, cleaned, and sat. In fact, I sat from about 2pm until the sun went down. I sat in a shaded part of my backyard with all the sounds of nature around me, including a robin’s nest just a few feet away. At first, they were bothered by my presence, but as the afternoon went on they became less and less concerned. As they paid less and less attention to me, I found myself paying more and more attention to them. And in my first official bird watching session I saw the most amazing thing: a bird’s first flight.
This moment outshone even the most spectacular golf shots the day before, and remined me how often I forget the power of being still. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” It says this on the heels of words about mountains quaking, seas foaming, and nations raging. In the midst of all the chaos and activity of the world, God says, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Chances are when people ask you how your summer is going you say something like, “flying by” or “crazy busy” or “very full.” And I am sure it is, because I am not the only one who prefers to be doing with a life full of obligation. But if that is your first thought, do yourself a favor and stop, even for a moment, to watch birds. Stop for a moment to be still and know.
The golf, the games, the yard work, the grad parties, the you-name-it will be there when you get back. But some of the most spectacular moments of your summer are waiting in the stillness with your God.