The Pastor’s Study – October 2021

by: Rev. Alex Molozaiy

“Be still and know that I am God!” -Psalm 46:10

I will be the first to confess that I am an antsy person. I am not good at being still. You can ask anyone I live with for confirmation. If the sun is up, I tend to be outdoors working on a project in the yard. If the weather is bad, I move to the garage. As anyone who owns an older home knows, there’s always something to be fixed, addressed, maintained, moved, and I like to be the one who does it. It’s hard for me to linger on the sofa and watch television with the family when there is work to be done!

And yet, there are times when stillness is called for, and even necessary. Our culture regularly disdains the Fourth Commandment: to work six days and rest on the seventh, even though it is given the most commentary of the ten. We find rest to be a waste of valuable time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to lead the church in this particular time and the challenges we face. Apparently I’m not the only one. My email inbox is literally bombarded with messages that target the anxiety of churches in this moment. Everyone wants to sell me their solution, which tells me that I’m not the only one concerned and insecure about the future of the Church. Even if an effort isn’t effective at bringing change, we all want to be perceived as doing something, anything really. We know that big challenges lie ahead, especially the challenge of bringing in new members when you can barely safely accommodate your current ones in your worship space and families with unvaccinated children are sheltering in place as much as possible to reduce the risk of exposure. Anxiety breeds anxiety, and soon we’re telling ourselves, “For God’s sake, don’t just stand there, do something!” 

On my way to the office, I was reminded of the beautiful imperative of Psalm 46: Be STILL and KNOW that I am God! Ugh. Stillness. Really, God? Maybe you’re right.

Stillness. Allowing God to be God. Letting go of striving for a time of reflection and renewal – Sabbath. Maybe this is a time for us to learn how to be still and let God quiet the anxieties of this moment before we resume our outreach in earnest. Maybe a congregation that has returned to a reliance upon God to do what we cannot will appeal to a newcomer to the faith in a way that a gimmicky ploy will not. In any case, I invite you to reflect on Psalm 46 this month and practice being still before your God. Let me know if anything surprises you!