Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Equanimity

“Styles and approaches in prayer are very varied. Some people love the company of others when they pray, and the stimulus of words and music. My usual preference would be for stillness. One image of Newman’s has never failed to help me. In a sermon called ‘Equanimity’ he asks: ‘Did you ever look at an expanse of water, and observe the ripples on the surface? Do you think that disturbance penetrates below it?’ He goes on to speak of tempests and scenes of horror and distress at sea, but remarks, ‘The foundations of the ocean, the vast realms of water which girdle the earth, are as tranquil and as silent in the storm as in a calm.’ He uses it as an image for the souls of those who are holy: ‘They have a well of peace springing up within them unfathomable’ (PS v, p. 69). As the passage continues, he acknowledges how troubled we may sometimes be in fact, and indeed the tsunami at Christmas 2004 may seem to qualify the image further; but that tragic event cannot simply cancel it altogether. The appeal to tranquillity in the deep has given me encouragement to persevere in prayer beyond immediate difficulties in order to discover the strength and stillness of God.”
~Roderick Strange

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