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                            October 2021                               


Click HERE for a printable copy


Stillness and Letting Go


Be still and know that I am God… Psalm 46:10 (NIV)


Each month, the pastoral team writes an article to be shared in the various newsletters within our congregations.  We have given updates on the ministry, such as Bible studies, changes in the lectionary year and seasonal resources, and given thanks for your support in our ministries.  We have shared joys, such a when Pastor Paul celebrated his 50th anniversary of ordination, or when Pastor Sue and I celebrated our ordinations, or the many ways Pastor John has touched our community.  Sometimes, these articles have dealt with difficult decisions that we made. This past year, responding to the COVID virus and how best to care for our community, has certainly been at the top.  We have shared sister congregations transitioning their ministry (Trinity Lutheran Church, Sheraden & Trinity Lutheran Church, Mount Oliver) to sister congregations (St. Andrew Lutheran Church, East Carnegie & Bethany Lutheran Church, Dormont).  This month, another sister congregation, Zion Lutheran Church, Coraopolis will be facing this decision as they transition to Resurrection Lutheran Church, Oakdale on Sunday, Oct 10.  Please look for information on how to be present for Zion and Resurrection during this transition.


Whatever the topics, we strive always to provide words of encouragement.  Sometimes, in writing these articles, the topic is provided for us through an event or activity we are engaged in, and the words come.  Other times, we search for what to share and the words are not so easy.  I must admit, for me this month, the latter one is true.  With so much happening in our churches and around us, what should I share with you?  What words of comfort and encouragement are needed?  As I pondered these questions the response in my spirit was/is to acknowledge the importance of “stillness” and of “letting go.”


Admittedly, I found that response strange. It seems like all we have done, since entering this season of the pandemic, is to be still.  We waited for updates on the virus, on the vaccine, on restrictions.  We have waited.  But have we been still?  And certainly, we have faced so much, let go of so much of the familiar.  What more are we being asked to let go of?  What more can we let go of?


Stillness may be seen as a practice of waiting with open hearts and mind, listening to a word from God.  And, often, the response shows up in unlikely ways.  While silence can be a part of the practice, stillness does not mean inaction.  Stillness can occur in that connection that comes when washing dishes, as you look out the window, in taking a walk, in creating (i.e., cooking, needlepoint, knitting, wood carving) or even making repairs.  It can come in the waiting period of decisions about ministries, while fully engaged in serving.  Stillness is a silent place, within us, that takes us away from doubts, fears, or worries and, instead, offers a few minutes to allow our minds to roam free as it connects with our surrounding, without requiring us to be actively engaged in changing the surrounding.  It is in those moments that beautiful memories surface. Answers are revealed.  The Divine speaks to us and settles our spirit.  We reconnect to the activity and charge around us feeling lighter. 


In stillness, we also learn to let go. Somehow, in those moments without words or conscious thoughts, we often work through and work out things that may have been weighing heavily on our hearts.   And, as we do so, we let go…of the burdens, the worries, the unsurety, even the need to control the outcome.  The presence of the Holy Spirit speaks to us at a level that does not require our conscious awareness, and yet we are connected to the Divine so deeply that we find moments of peace and restfulness that are often difficult to describe.


Yet, all too often, we fill our days and our times in ways that do not allow us the space to be still. The laundry list of tasks, often necessary ones, takes over.  Or, we allow our aloneness to take over our quiet time, such that we lose the gift of stillness.  We see urgency in the tasks ahead.  We miss the opportunity for stillness by focusing on the burden of the tasks and not the gift of the moment.  


So, my message of encouragement for us this month and in the months to come, is to carve out space for stillness.  Stillness to allow the Divine to speak to us and grant us soul-deep healing.  Stillness that will grant us the wisdom of knowing how to let go.  Let go of all the “coulds” and “shoulds”, so we are more present in the ways God has called us to be now.


Christ’s grace and peace,


Pastor Brenda



Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries (PLUM), 405 Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110        412-466-7773