August 2015

Peace: be still

[Mark 4.39]

To travel with Christ is to trav el in peace, even when events around us are turbulent. Our tradition of Contemplative Prayer directs us to be quiet. To appreciate the silence, yet to be a lert to God's message for us as we travel with him along life's rugged road.

It was not unusual to experience sudden squalls on the Sea o f Galilee. They came with terrifying speed, even when the sky appeared clear and all seemed calm. For those who lived and worked there it was something the y would have seen many times. It seems strange then that the disciples who were fishermen were so frightened. Having woken Jesus, who was asleep in the boa t with them, they were surprised that he was able immediately to rebuke the wind and waves and calm the sea. Although Jesus was with them they had not yet learned that they should trust him.

But this story has a deeper meaning than just quelling stormy waters. For wherever we are, if we trust him, the storms of life can become calm. The sea and the storm can represent the world and its troubles. He may give us peace in the storm of bereavement, reminding us of the glory of life everlasting, and his abiding love and presence. He offers us peace when events cause us to doubt our own faith. Peace may be ours when praying becomes difficult, when we are distracted. I was once praying contemplatively in a church when suddenly a workman whom I couldn't se e started up a hammer drill. I was about to get up and go when this Word of peace came to mind. The racket gradually took second place and became irrelevan t, and I experienced the peace of God which passes understanding.

In the complexities of daily life we take time to experience the Peace an d Stillness in silent contemplation with our Lord. Indeed, his parting gift to the disciples was peace. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you." (John 14.27 and 16.33). The more we can hear and receive this Word of peace, with the spirit and life it brings, the more we shall be able to spread it ar ound and pass it on to others in intercession.