This winter blanket of snow has brought Middle Tennessee to a halt. I think it is a gift. For most of us. I know for some of you it has interrupted plans; you have had to juggle work schedules or postpone or cancel events you have spent hours planning. On my morning walk, my neighbor who is a photographer is in his driveway wondering how he is going to make it to shoot a big wedding. I feel for the bride and groom.
This blanketed time is a gift as it slows us down. And with the slowing down, a certain peace and a sense of thankfulness percolates upward. Thankfulness for the small things - like nesting at home and food in the cupboard and in the belly. (Kira made two big pots of soup yesterday and I made banana pancakes to fuel my morning walk.)
There is a peace that comes when we are attentive to nature. On my morning I was struck by the hawk working above me in the cobalt blue sky. There is a certain peace that comes in getting out in winter, looking out at the snow, brilliant under the morning sun; the snow etched with the shadows of trees. When you look out your own windows or get outside yourselves, I hope you will notice the interplay of shadow and light and I hope it will bring a sense of peace and awareness of the everlasting love and peace of God which passes all understanding. Of this peace and presence, I love what the psalmist says in Psalm 18: God brought me out into a broad place; God rescued me, because God delighted in me.
Also, this slowed down time can bring a sense of peace and incline one to be contemplative… a discipline that seems to escape me most times no matter how much I want to be still and “think deep thoughts about life” There is some comfort in what Thomas Merton once said:
"It seems to me that I have greater peace… when I am not 'trying to be contemplative,' or trying to be anything special, but simply orienting my life fully and completely towards what seems to be required of a man like me at a time like this."
So when it comes to you, what may be required of you this morning is to simply to make breakfast, enjoy a good book, or time with a loved one, and enjoy this gift of quiet. The deal is to do whatever is needful and within reach, no matter how ordinary it is or whether you are likely to do it well.
This morning I encourage you to read John 2 -- the story of the wedding at Cana. We will pick it up next week, but for today I ask you: “where do you feel in your life that the jars are empty, and the wine is running out in your life? Dare we believe that God can fill the emptiness; what would it mean for faith in the power of God to fill us with such abundance?
On this third day since it snowed, notice if this happens to you during the day? The demands that hung over you before this blanket of snow descended on Nashville have lightened or lifted. Since most of us have been able to do little to meet those demands, the lesson seems clear: they were mostly the inventions of an agitated mind.
I hope this is a good day for you. This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.