CAMINANDO WITH JESUS: Turning Down Stress by Turning Up Jesus with Silence
Jesus himself stood among the disciples and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.
- Luke 24:36b-48
Have you ever wondered how--with so many people focused on the injustices of the world, the inequities, the hardships people face--all seem to spend their time down river, as Rev. Barber explains: pulling the babies out of the river? What would it look like if we shifted more of our work to those putting the babies in the river, directing all of our collective money, time and talents to proclaim the good news of Jesus' death and resurrection to the systems actually responsible for creating the hardships, inequities and injustices of the world?
For the last four years or so I have been exploring that work as a lay leader in the Diocese of North Carolina and at my parish, St. Philip’s, Durham. However, it wasn’t until Bishop Anne pointed out the other day that I am one of the Episcopal Church nerds spending my time walking with Jesus toward my purpose, that I saw I spend so much time living into the meaning that I have made of my life. I don’t think I have made time for an actual life outside of this work. So much so, that I recently realized my internal noise is so loud that "I can’t hear, think or process." This dawned on me during a Wednesday Morning PEACE HILL, which is a gathering I attend with a friend (a retired pastor) in the community. An interfaith circle of folks gathers weekly Wednesday mornings for a PEACE HILL, 60 minutes with two five-minute breaks. When it was in person, we met in a large house with great outdoor space with over ten acres just outside the city limits to walk or sit or lay about. We all practiced silent meditation. Over the last four years I have attended sporadically every now and again. That means maybe once a quarter and especially when it’s PEACE HILL DAY, which is six hours of silence (with breaks to talk). The purpose is to create space for people to gather, meditate and pray, or just sit silently together. So, when there is a break for us city folks, we can talk to a lot of people and still feel like we are downtown. For me, as one with the DIS-EASE of BUSY-NESS (business), you can only imagine how well I have been pausing for my daily meditations at home, let alone with friends for an hour a week to be silent in a circle. I am the mother of two tweens and a teen, a municipal elected official (gearing up for an election race), working full-time at a local non-profit and serving on several national, state and local organizations, boards, committees and commissions.
With COVID-19, these gatherings moved to Zoom, but so did my life with 2-3 meetings in the background often. Of course, all of this is to get in the practice of hearing from Jesus or being like the disciples to carry forward the gospel. If the Jesus Movement, as Bishop Curry lays out, “is the ongoing community of people who center their lives on Jesus and following him into loving, liberating and life-giving relationship with God, each other and creation,” then each of us is called to be like Jesus in knowing that God is with us, in us and around us—if we can stop long enough to listen, to hear and receive the message. It’s all in the PEACE!
“Peace be with you.”
DeDreana Freeman - “Internal Noise Controller”- is a parishioner of St. Philip’s, Durham.
Tags: Caminando with Jesus