Bishop Bickerton: "Be Still & Know" Good Advice for Lent

Bishop Bickerton: "Be Still & Know" Good Advice for Lent

Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton


I recently read an article in the New York Times by Amy Krouse Rosenthal entitled, “You May Want to Marry My Husband.”  In that article, the well-known author of children’s books reveals that she is in the final stages of ovarian cancer.  With each paragraph, Rosenthal paints a beautiful picture of the loving relationship she shares with her husband and the direction she is taking with the remaining days of her life. 

The diagnosis of her cancer came quickly and unexpectedly. Plans had to change. Dreams had to be re-thought.  Amy writes, “This is when we entered what I came to think of as Plan ‘Be,’ existing only in the present.”

It really got me to thinking. You see, I am a person of big dreams. I love to vision out pathways and possibilities for the future. I not only long for a better world, I like to think that I play a part, albeit small, in helping to create one. I frequently repeat myself with phrases like, “God isn’t through with us yet,” and “We all should be discerning God’s preferred future.” 

But what about “Plan Be?”  In the midst of the helter-skelter, frenetic, uncertain world in which we live, shouldn’t we all develop a “Plan Be?”

Learning how to just “be” has not been an easy exercise for a guy like me. I want to go and see and experience the vast array of God’s creation. Yet, I have discovered along the way that there is a real need for each of us to go and see and experience the vastness of God’s creation . . . within ourselves. There, deep within, lies a multitude of God’s holy mysteries, not to mention quite a number of insecurities, longings, and questions. One can travel the world searching for meaning, but one of the most important stops along the way is deep within our selves.

In my work, I am frequently called upon to be “on,” fully present and engaged.  For a “type A” personality like myself, that’s never too hard.  But this work brings out the introvert in you.  There is a need to pause, reflect, pray, and just “be.” 

That’s really the essence of this Lenten season that we have recently begun.  Lent, the 40 days not including Sundays leading up to Easter, is designed to be a time when we take stock of our inner lives and assess where we are and where we aren’t in our relationship with God.  It is a time for new disciplines, fresh confessions, and honest reflections.  It’s a time to just “be” and let God speak to you with a voice that is always present but not always heard.

Although not always quite as dramatic as Amy Rosenthal, everyone has moments where life comes and brings us unexpected news. As a result, plans are changed and dreams are re-directed.  It’s then, in the midst of the unexpected, that we can develop “Plan Be” and sense with renewed joy the presence of God walking with us each step of the way. 

God’s dreams are not always far off.  They are often found in the present moment when God calls us, right here and right now, to realize that we are God’s children – called, gifted, blessed to be a blessing – right here and right now.

Singer Jason Mraz wrote these words in his song “Living in the Moment:”

So I just let go of what I know I don't know
And I know I only do this by
Living in the moment
Living my life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart
Peace in my soul
Wherever I'm going, I'm already home
Living in the moment

Sounds like a good “Plan Be” to me.
The Journey Continues, . . .