Caryn Rivadeneira, Director of Care & Worship Planning
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Welcome to Elmhurst CRC's daily dose of the word of God. It's Thursday, November 17, and Sunday's coming. This is Caryn Rivadeneira. I serve as Director of Care and Worship Planning, and I'll be reading Psalm 46 Verse 10.
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Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.
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When I was in seminary, a classmate of mine sang a version of Psalm 46, as his devotion for us one day. Though I've always loved this psalm (as many of us do), my friends amazing version changed the way I'll forever encounter this Psalm - especially this verse. While every other previous line was sung straight through before moving on, my friend, (Derek) repeats the line, "Be still and know." And then he lingers there before rising into the final lines. I almost wish that the psalm itself repeated these lines. Not simply because they're so personally calming, but because they come at the end of a universally loud Psalm. If we listen behind the lines of Psalm 46, we can hear the roar, and the crash, and churn as mountains slide into the sea. We can hear the screams of people, the thudding gallop of a stampede, the clang of metals as nations war. And we hear the bellow of God as these wars then melt; as bows and arrows snap, and chariots crackle in their fire. It's in this noise that God says, "Be still." And it's not just be still - but know. Trust, believe, acknowledge that I am God. And this we read, is how God is exalted, Not through God's people warring, not through God's acts of brute strength, and not in God's ability to strike terror. No, we exalt God in our acknowledgement of who God is. Now while God is mighty, and God is strong, and God is able - in this psalm, we get a glimpse that perhaps God wishes this wasn't how we knew God.
Caryn Rivadeneira 2:17
Now hear me out: this world is not how God intended it. We all know this. God didn't create this glorious universe so that mountains would crumble and glaciers would melt. God didn't create humans so we could battle each other over resources. Instead, God wanted to walk with us, to talk with us. God created us to know God and be with God. We see this reflected in the creation narrative in Genesis. Now, don't get me wrong - I'm so thankful that God is mighty and strong. I'm so thankful that God does intervene in this world with strength and might. And I'm so glad that God heals, saves, and never stops trying to write our wrongs, or woo us back. But like so many other things, that isn't how it was meant to be.
Caryn Rivadeneira 3:03
The good news is, that despite our wanderings and our warring ways, God has never stopped wanting to be in relationship with God's creation, or with us. And I believe truly, deeply, that more than anything, God longs for us to be still. To settle our troubled and warring souls, to quiet our raging minds, to end our warring (cultural or otherwise), and know that God is God. That is how we exalt God. Now imagine if rather than battling and warring and arguing (things that I confess, I'm all too guilty of), what if instead, we stilled, knew, and exalted God together? As we wrap up this church year and head into a new season, that seems like a great goal.