Due to icy and snowy weather, our service this morning was canceled. It is an odd experience to have a Sunday off! I decided I’d write a prayer conveying some of those feelings.
Snow drifts, melting down from chilled trees, the only movement in a blinding white scene of Sunday morning shalom. How content those trees are with stillness, how content to let the snow come and go as it pleases, while their deep roots reach for deeper, unfrozen waters. You urge us, Patient God, to be still and know that you are you. The strong trees understand that; the frozen grass waiting its turn to spring up understands that; even the blanketing snow understands that.
Why is it so hard for us humans to grasp? We have an impulse to do, go, act, make, spend. And yet you call us to be. Being feels like something we just do not have time for: a selfish luxury or an abstract impossibility. How is it that the same God who created all that we see – the glittering snow, the deep-rooted trees, the patient grass – also created Sabbath rest? How is it that we have twisted that Sabbath rest to mean either automaton worship or pancakes and pajamas?
In this moment, when the impulse to go and do seeks to squeeze guilt out of just being, teach us again, O God, the art of being. That moments of unexpected stillness must not be immediately filled with obligations and productivity, but instead cherished as a calm respite in a world frenetically searching for meaning. Show us the way of the deep-rooted trees, that fearing neither cold nor drought, we may stand strong and complete exactly where you have planted us. Show us the way of the drifting snow, that welcomes the change sunlight brings and suddenly, beautifully, lets go and dances down to replenish the earth with your water. Show us the way of the patient grass, that knows that new life only comes after a time of stillness, but that always, always, it comes. Amen.