3.20.18 … be still, brother and sister saints. and blessings on this first day of spring …

Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Lenten Labyrinth Walks (35/40), The Jack Matney Memorial Labyrinth Courtyard/Novant Presbyterian Hospital – Charlotte NC, Vernal Equinox 2018, Rev. Wes Barry, Karen Wright Marsh’s Vintage Saints and Sinners, Psalm 46:10:

As I walked into Novant’s Presbyterian Main Hospital, I saw a sign that read “Naming Opportunities.” Hmmm …

I always look around when I begin my walk. The first thing I noticed here today was the large quotation on the wall which begins, “AND YET: BE STILL.”

I have walked this labyrinth many times, and never before have my legs been brushed by the bushes on the left side of the labyrinth at the outermost outside circuit. Since it is the first day of spring, I wondered if this is new spring growth.

As I was on the return, I had a really powerful sneeze. And my thoughts immediately went to the discussion of Balaam’s blessings which I had just had at my Tuesday Morning Bible class. I laughed at myself because whenever I hear a sneeze, even mine, I say, “God bless you.” Does anyone else say “God bless you” to themselves?

At this point, I remembered that there is a prayer wall incorporated within the garden that contains the labyrinth. It sits below the quotation that reads, “AND YET: BE STILL FOR HEALING MOST LIKELY WHISPERS.” And for the first time I noticed multiple pieces of paper stuffed into the niches of the prayer wall. So I think I will take my “God bless you” for myself and instead say it to those that have asked for prayers. God bless you.

I have searched for the source of the quote “AND YET: BE STILL FOR HEALING MOST LIKELY WHISPERS.” But I cannot find one. It always takes me to my favorite Old Testament verse, Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.” I realize that I am not alone in claiming this verse as my favorite. As a matter of fact, The Henri Nouwen Society sent out this daily meditation today:

“Be still and acknowledge that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). These are words to take with us in our busy lives. We may think about stillness in contrast to our noisy world. But perhaps we can go further and keep an inner stillness even while we carry on business, teach, work in construction, make music, or organise meetings.

It is important to keep a still place in the “marketplace.” This still place is where God can dwell and speak to us. It also is the place from where we can speak in a healing way to all the people we meet in our busy days. Without that still space we start spinning. We become driven people, running all over the place without much direction. But with that stillness God can be our gentle guide in everything we think, say, or do.

Source: Henri Nouwen Society | A Still Place in the Market – Henri Nouwen Society, http://henrinouwen.org/meditation/still-place-market/

As for naming opportunities, I have struggled with how I name myself. “Christian” is too cumbersome and has negative connotations. I like this recent blog post from Wes Barry, a minister here in Charlotte (pastor at Waypoint Community Church and former Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Charlotte and a Davidson grad, too):

Fun fact–the followers of Christ never describe themselves as “Christian” in the Bible. The term originated by the Gentiles in Antioch (Acts 11:26), was used by King Agrippa (Acts 26:28) while Paul was on trial, and referenced by Peter (1 Peter 4:16) as a derogatory term used by the surrounding culture.

Why does that really matter? Because the terms that were used by the followers of Jesus to link them together were familial and missional terminology.

They were “brothers and sisters” or “Disciples” (followers) or “Apostles” (sent ones) or “saints” (holy…set apart ones). The call of Christ followers is to be forming a familial bond with each other. Our connection is as adopted heirs into the family of Jesus who has invited us to come and see (Disciples) so we can go and be (Apostles).

Instead of calling each other by a label, the followers of Jesus chose to call each other by their relational status or their missional purpose.

Source: Devotion: Why I Don’t Call Myself a Christian – Wes Barry, https://wbbarry.com/2018/03/19/devotion-why-i-dont-call-myself-a-christian/

So I have a naming opportunity everyday. I realize that naming opportunities in the hospital refers to giving large amounts so my name will be on a bench, a room, a facility or even a labyrinth. But what name do I want to be on me.

And that thought leads me back to my Tuesday Morning Bible Study. I will lead the study in April and the book I will use is Karen Wright Marsh’s Vintage Saints and Sinners. I met Karen as a teenager when she moved to Atlanta. I’m excited about leading a discussion of her book and went to a recent book signing in Atlanta. She signed my book, “To Dennard, a sister saint … A long the way! Blessings, Karen Wright Marsh” Sister saint, I like that.

be still, brother and sister saints. and blessings on this first day of spring.


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