Peace Like a River
“Peace is flowing like a river” says the old beloved spiritual. I have found this to be true. Peace is a moving thing, a flowing thing. Sometimes the river flows slowly over little pebbles. Sometimes it crashes down a mountain waterfall. It can be icy in the winter and boiling in the summer. It meets us where we are.
There can be droughts and the river dries up. There can be floods and the river overflows it’s banks. But always, no matter what we see on the outside, there is always water flowing deep within the Earth. The old pioneers and mountain folk often used a divining rod, moving it slowly over the ground, to find the underground springs.
Because I believe we are created in the image of God and there is a Divine spark within each of us, I think the underground spring is always there. We just have to use our divining rod to find it again sometimes. For some, their rod is simply deeply breathing in the Spirit as storms roll over them. For others, it may be the words of a beloved prayer, beloved music or a treasured Scripture that allows them to drop down to the deepness within. For others it may be walking softly in the beauty of God’s creation.
“Be still and know that I am God.” I think that it is in the stillness that we once again connect with that underground spring and find living water. Right now, in this time of COVID, there is ample time and space for most of us that we have never had before. I see most of us running from this time alone. It is almost an addiction to be connected to Zoom or Facebook or our phone almost constantly. We do this in the name of “connecting,” but it is often in reality to escape the uncomfortable feeling of being alone. We are afraid to simply “be” in this time of physical distancing. There is no minimizing the horrors of death and disease and what has brought us to this place. That is the reality. But can there be gift even in this time? Can we know that the river doesn’t just flow peacefully over pebbles glistening in the sunlight! Can we trust that it also flows in the deepest of storms? Can we trust that it is a gift even as it is a burden?
As we are told to distance from each other for our own safety, can we not use this time to once again connect with that Divine spark within us? To meet again that self that we often run from? Being alone is different from being lonely. If we embrace it, solitude can become one of our most treasured gifts. It can become the Sabbath within us.
Paul Tillich describes God as “the Ground of all Being.” I think that when we let go of all that is holding us captive and drop down to the deep stillness within us, we connect to the Ground of all Being. And being connected to that Source enables the living water to flow out and all around us. It is the “peace that passéth all understanding.” Shalom.