To Be


Several years ago I visited a colleague of mine for some advice about my spiritual life. At our first meeting he said, “I am going to repeat a phrase. You meditate on the phrase. You will know when I am done, and then you can start talking.”

Then he said:

Be still and know that I am God.

And then he was silent for a minute to two. I have to admit that most of my meditation at that point was, “how will I know when he is finished? What if he is finished, and I don’t know, and I sit there not talking when he is waiting for me to start?

Then he said:

Be still and know that I am

Again he gave me a moment or two of silence to reflect on that, but this time I was thinking, “Aha! Now I know how I will know he is done. He is winding down the phrase, and when he gets to the last word, then he is done. So I won’t look a fool, waiting for him when he is waiting for me!

Then he said:

Be still and know


This time I was able to reflect a little on the words. Be still and know….know what? What do I know? How do I know it? What do I really KNOW? What is the knowledge that is deep seated within me? What do I know about God?

Then he said:

Be still

Being still is hard for me. I like to be doing something. All the time. I am usually reading about three books, catching up on news, writing, thinking, planning. I am not good at being still. I have always thought that life is like being on water skis. If you stop, you sink.

Then he said:


One simple word. One impossible task. Just be. I always thought I was defined by what I do, not by what I am. To just be? What if what I do is not the main thing? What if it is more about who and what I am than about what I do?

These last few weeks have taught me a lot about being. Who am I if I am not doing something? My identity is so tied up in being a minister. What happens if I am not able to do 90 percent of what I do as a minister?

What happens when our calendars are cleared, and we are advised to stay home? There is no shortage of people telling us what we ought to be.  What happens when all the voices are quieted, when all the meetings are cancelled? What happens when we cannot visit friends, shop, volunteer at the food bank, sing in the choir, attend committee meetings, or socialize with other church members? What kind of Christian are we when those things are taken from us?

That day, when my colleague said the word, “Be,” I had to wrestle with these and other similar lessons. It reminded me of a retreat I was on several years ago. We were told at the front end to NOT talk about work during the weekend. It was really hard meeting a new person and not asking them where they worked. We all had to find other things to talk about, and I was surprised how hard that was.

The day I heard the word “Be” helped me see one thing very clear. Of all the things I just am, this is foremost. I am a child of God. You don’t have to do anything to be a child. You just are one. Being the child of my parents was something I was, not something I did. As a child of my parents, that entailed certain things on my part—mowing the lawn, raking leaves, and other various chores—but even when I didn’t do them, I was still their child.

You are a child of God. Through all that might happen the next few weeks, never forget that. That is more constant than taxes, stew or even death—and as Easter approaches, especially death!


Grace and Peace



About tmrichmond3

I am the pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Medford, Oregon. I believe that faith should be able to sustain us, not oppress us.
This entry was posted in Church, Current Events, Devotional, Growth, Hope, Lenten Devotional, Musings, Prayer, Psalms, Spiritual Growth, spirituality and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s