06 Oct Centering Down
A couple of weeks ago, I received a devotion written by Rev. Stan Ott. Stan is a minister member of National Capital Presbytery who pastored for many years in Pittsburg and elsewhere before founding Vital Churches Institute. He has worked extensively with churches all over the country, including Calvary, through his Acts 16:5 Initiative. I know Stan personally and have been blessed by his ministry to the Church and God’s kingdom.
In this particular devotion, Stan introduced a Quaker expression with which I was previously unfamiliar. The expression is to “center down.” To center down means to create still moments in your life in order to reconnect with the presence of God and be refreshed.
Jesus was the quintessential example of this Quaker concept. Whether he was surrounded by a crush of people or in a boat careening in a raging storm, Jesus radiated calm and centeredness, with a stillness emanating from his soul.
In these days of anxiety and uncertainty, it is important to create still moments in our lives. It’s a misnomer to think that we’re too busy or stressed to cultivate centering down. All too often, when we have a quiet moment, we hurry to fill it in by distracting ourselves with our phones and computers. Or, we turn on the television so we’ll have some background noise. To center down, we must first create stillness. Embrace silence. Get alone, read Scripture, pray.
Bob Oerter who was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Boulder, Colorado many years ago, was speaking to a group of busy pastors when he made a profound statement: “Learn to live with the load of the unfinished.”
We will always have a “do-list,” but that isn’t the real issue. The real issue is learning to stop, to “center down” and be refreshed by God. God loves you and wants to spend time with you, renewing and restoring you. To center down is to practice Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God!”
I invite you this week to center down by setting aside a few moments to focus on the presence of God, to listen, to read the Bible or a daily devotional, and to pray about the things that are on your heart. Decide now to make this a regular practice and when and where you will do it.
Then extend the idea of centering down beyond your relationship with God to your relationships with others. When—and how—will you be present to the people you need to be with? By phone? Online? In person, safely distanced? “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (I Thessalonians 5:11)
Yours for the Kingdom,