‘Nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness.’
And so, one might deduce, nothing in all creation is less like God than the commercial Christmas season, which consumes Advent in one bite.
It can be a distracted time, full of panic and worry, click and collect, people and plans, all squeezed into a mad and frenetic December.
Though may be this year, with tiers in our eyes, the loudest sound is the babble and clamour of uncertainty. Uncertainty can swallow Advent as well…
And Eckhart’s shocking words about stillness remind me of the passage in 1.Kings when Elijah, like us, is trying to find God.
‘The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.’
Just for a moment, we stumble clear of things of the world; of commerce, media and social demands; we ease ourselves from the thrall of other people’s requirements and expectations.
We ease ourselves from our own, which can be the noisiest thing of all.
Things of the world come in all shapes and sizes. ‘And to be full of things is to be empty of God,’ says Eckhart.
After the wind, earthquake and fire, a gentler sound is discerned. And to hear this fragile whisper, like a desert breeze through our bones, we will need to be still.
For nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness.