Paris Terrorist Attacks/ Be still for the presence of the Lord

eiffel tower paris attacks

In the wake of the tragic atrocities in Paris that took place on Friday, I would like to offer my condolences and sympathies to all those victims who have been affected and their families and loved ones. It is truly shocking to have this happen, and yes, it feels more shocking to me that it has happened in Northern Europe (my own personal bias, I know).

It has also clear that the European media reports European deaths much more widely than other deaths, such as those recently in Lebanon (the day prior to those in Paris) and also all the other violent deaths and atrocious events that occur across the world without many people in ‘the West’ being aware of them. I would also like to offer my condolences and sympathies to all of them and their loved ones too.

Facebook, however insignificant it may be, created an app to keep people safe and change their profile picture to a French Flag following the Paris attacks. Whilst this was a great things to do, and I am glad they did it, it is noteworthy that this was not done for any of the other countries when they were attacked. It gives me faith in humanity that so many people have changed their Facebook profile picture to show solidarity with France, but I personally do not feel I can change my Facebook profile pic to a French flag without feeling hypocritical about not also changing it to the flags of all other nations that have suffered similar terrorist attacks.

We stand against all violence and oppression wherever it is seen. We value life everywhere, not just in Europe, and not even just in human beings. All life is precious, our Earth is precious, our Universe is precious. We honour Life and all its expressions everywhere. We feel intimately within ourselves that we should not destroy anything unless we have to. This is the ancient principle of ahimsa.

I had a blog post pre-scheduled for release today, one of my spiritual poems, but it seemed out of place given what had happened in Paris. Instead for some reason it felt more fitting to write about this hymn, “Be still for the presence of the Lord” (I hope this is not equally inappropriate – it probably represents an somewhat pathetic attempt to write about something spiritual in the context of a terrorist attack given this blog is meant to be about spirituality and not politics).

This is one of my favourite hymns, and I was interested to find that it is also one of the UK’s favourites too. When I looked it up, I was surprised at how modern it is – it was written in 1986 by David J Evans, but on reflection I can see how that makes sense given the simplicity and directness of the lyrics.

The words focus on simply being still and feeling God’s Peace and Presence. And that’s it really. There is no mention of any specific belief, dogma, creed, the resurrection, the trinity or even of Jesus Christ. This surely allows for a wide variety of  people, Christian or otherwise, to share in the hymn’s meaning and derive benefit from its words.

The hymn for me is really about just one way of becoming more peaceful, healing ourselves and reducing human suffering, and standing together. And we can all stand together, united, in peace, regardless of creed (or lack of creed), regardless of other divisions we artificially impose on each other.

I think this language can even be appreciated even if you don’t believe in God, God being just a word that points to something greater than our small separate selves. In my view you can simply replace the word ‘God’ with another word you feel more comfortable with such as ‘universe’ or ‘higher-self’ or ‘life’. Then the allusions to ‘God’ or ‘Him’ become more metaphorical rather than actually specifying a personal God with a male gender (what gender does life have?).

It’s message is so simple – again, simply be still, feel (‘His’) Presence, allow this (‘Him’) to heal you and allow the Wholeness and Peace that is always here to manifest within You.

I hope you don’t mind that I have interspersed my interpretation for each verse within the lyrics below and you can listen to the hymn on the video below.

Peace, love and blessings to you all.

Verse 1

Be still for the presence of the Lord
The Holy One is here
Come bow before Him now
With reverence and fear
In Him no sin is found
We stand on holy ground
Be still for the presence of the Lord
The Holy One is here

My interpretation:
-Be still and allow yourself to feel Presence. This is none other than ‘your’ presence, which is the same as God’s presence – really you cannot claim it as your own – it is just Presence. We can call it God’s presence to indicate it does not belong to the small separate self that we usually take ourselves to be.
-There is no division between God and ourselves, just oneness, wholeness (Holy-ness). All there is is God, the ‘Holy One’. (If God is infinitely infinite and omnipresent, how can anything exist apart from Him?)
-Here, in this realm of Wholeness, there has never been sin, sin being based on the illusion of separation. All there is is Love and Peace.

Verse 2

Be still for the glory of the Lord
Is shining all around
He burns with holy fire
With splendor He is crowned
How awesome is the sight
Our radiant King of light
Be still for the glory of the Lord
Is shining all around

My interpretation:
-God is everywhere, within us and without, shining on, shining on.
-Seeing this for oneself is truly wonderful, glorious, radiant. This radiance, peace and grace is all around us and permeates us – it always has.

Verse 3

Be still for the power of the Lord
Is moving in this place
He comes to cleanse and heal
To minister His grace
No work too hard for Him
In faith receive from Him
Be still for the power of the Lord
Is moving in this place

My interpretation:
-God’s power, which is none other than life itself, is here, right now, already.
-In being still, we are cleansed and purified. Old habitual patterns based on a sense of separation are allowed to loosen, our innate intelligence (or God’s Spirit) is allowed to work through us, cleansing and healing us, returning our habits to become in-line with the already existing Wholeness that we were not previously appreciating or acknowledging.

-When separation dissolves, Wholeness is seen and there is seen to be no ‘me’; actions spontaneously occur, peaceful, non-violent, harmonious, effortless. This is God working through us. His power, His Grace is everywhere, we are nothing but part of Him, He who is partless. We become ‘His ministers’ of peace and love. All is Him.

Wishing you all love and peace ❤

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