Those familiar with Animal Farm¹, George Orwell’s allegorical novella published in 1945, will recall that after the barnyard revolution when all the farm animals overthrow the humans on Manor Farm, the pigs, led by Napoleon (the conniving Berkshire boar), issue the Seven Commandments of Animalism for all the animals to live by. These Seven Commandments were summarized by the Seventh and greatest commandment: “All animals are created equal.” Orwell’s classic short story on the rise of the Soviet Union and the dangers of Communism reaches its dolent climax when, at the end, all the commandments are eliminated, except the Seventh…with one small, but important modification: “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”
I recently recalled this now famous quote from Animal Farm when I had just completed a nexus prayer session. That’s because from the very conception of Nexus Prayer, I have always thought of and treated the key words of Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God” – the Five Steps of Nexus Prayer – as all equal. Or so I thought. Today I realize I’ve treated some of those words more equal than others since, from the beginning, I’ve given preferential treatment to the words “Still” and “Be”, as will be discussed.
“All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.” – Napoleon
ALL WORDS ARE EQUAL
The obvious place to begin my study of Psalm 46:10 back in the Summer of 2015 was with the word “Still”, since it is usually that solitary word in verse ten that is beloved by most, truly understood by a few, and assailed by many. “Be” received my attention next, followed by “God”, “I am”, and finally “Know”. However, as already mentioned, the two words or phrases that always dominated my thoughts and prayers were the climax of nexus prayer: “Be still” (harpu in the original Hebrew) and “Be.” The first being the place in nexus prayer where we drop everything, let everything in our life go (let go) by uploading our problems, sins, concerns, worries to God, and the second, by simply “being” with God, allowing God the Holy Spirit to download directly into our spirit precisely what each of us may need on any given day or time in our lives.
ALL WORDS ARE EQUAL…NOT!
All of that changed several days ago during my customary morning prayer when my attention was especially drawn to Step 3 (Know) of nexus prayer. This is most likely due to conversations I’ve had recently with a close friend and prayer partner regarding God’s innate nature – another four-letter word (LOVE), and especially spiritual insights I’ve gained from reading Love, Imperfectly Known by Brother Emmanuel of Taizé. Brother Emmanuel reminds us that “…the love of a father, mother, husband, wife, brother, sister, and friend become possible analogies and even indirect reflections here below of a Divine love that is even greater than human beings dare to believe.”²
When I was an agnostic, I tried to know God with my head. After choosing to become a Christian, a follower of Christ, I began to know God with my heart (soul). Today, and especially thanks to nexus prayer, I know God with all my body, mind, and spirit. Indeed, Scripture’s simplest “definition” or description of God is found in I John 4:7,8 “…God is love.” I plan on writing a post soon that fully examines this vitally important word “Know” that is strategically embedded in Psalm 46:10 and halfway through the nexus prayer cycle, but for now, and in a very real way, suffice it say that when you get to this stage of Nexus Prayer you may feel free with full confidence to exchange the word “know” for “love.” It follows naturally from the previous step: I am …loved. Just as we are letting go to God all our human problems and emotional baggage in Step 4 (Be Still), and allowing God to download His Spirit into our spirit in Step 5 (Be), we can just as easily visualize God placing Her³ loving arms around us and holding us close to Her divine heart in Step 3 (Know). When we reach this third step of Nexus Prayer it is as though we are hugging God and He is hugging us back.
Arguably, of course, when one considers the first word “God”, and the second word(s) “I AM”, I have to concede there can be no stronger or more powerful beginning to Psalm 46:10. I’ve now used nexus prayer on average no less than three times daily for the last two years, and although in my heart of hearts I still believe these five key words of scripture to each be equal in depth of meaning, significance, and power, I must admit that when it comes to Psalm 46:10 Napoleon was right… “all words are equal but some words are more equal than others.” Or are they? God only knows.
NOTES & REFERENCES
1 Animal Farm by George Orwell | Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia
2 Love, Imperfectly Known by Brother Emmanuel of Taize.| p131, Continuum (2011) / Amazon
3 He/She. Truth is, God is a Spirit. John 4:24 “He” simply cannot be adequately described by the limited anthropomorphic labels we assign to God. We understand today that males and females both have feminine and masculine sides to their psyche and personality, and that God created us (male and female) in His image, so why should it surprise us to learn that God’s attributes include both masculine and feminine qualities? This subject is expertly explored by Brother Emmanuel of Taize’ in his book, Love, Imperfectly Known – Beyond Spontaneous Representations of God (Continuum, 2011, see above.)
4 Photo Credit: Pig by Fabian Blank | Photo in Public Domain via Unsplash | Used and modified with permission by Nexus Prayer International.
6 Photo Credit: Cows © 2017 Copyright by Erin Theisen Photography | Used with permission. | Nexus Prayer International.