Sunday, November 16, 2008

Be Still: A Boston Unitarian Sabbath

I am the DRE at a wonderful and vibrant Unitarian Universalist Church so the last thing I am usually able to do on a Sunday is to "be still." I have been trying to begin my Sabbath on Saturday evening with as much peaceful reading and reflection as possible and then to wake early and begin with reading , meditation and prayer. The goal, of course, is to be mindful and focused even amidst the busyness of a typical Sunday morning.

This morning I read a sermon by Ephraim Peabody (see Post Oct. 27th,) called "Stillness of Mind." An exerpt: Be still, and know only that with you is God. One hour in these summer fields alone, in the silence of nature, with a heart that looks in prayer to Him, who is above the open heavens, is worth more in determining a question of duty, than ages of rhetoric and libraries of logic. An hour in this place (Church), before the memorials of Christ, with the heart seeking God's guidance, has in it more wisdom than all the oracles philosophy ever uttered. Evil suggestions fade away from the consciousness of the Divine presence. The mind acts in an unembarrassed sphere; it is placed in a right position, and is open to the unbewildered light of truth. The intellect will seek truth most faithfully when the heart seeks God most truly. Prayer does not take the place of reasoning, but the reason finds guidance and protection in prayer...With a prayerful heart, be still, and alone, conscious that God is with you.
And this from Hymns of the Spirit (1865):
The Still Hour

Gently the shades of night descend;
Thy temple, Lord, is calm and still
A thousand lamps of ether blend
A thousand fires that temple fill

Thou bidd'st the cares of earth depart;
Heaven's peace is wafted from above;
A sabbath stillness fills the heart,
Devotion's calm and holy love

And man, even from the dust, may rise
Born on the pinions of thy grace,
Up to angelic mysteries
And find in Thee his resting place


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