I am behind in everything. My house really needs to be cleaned, not just touched up. My laundry is chasing me around the room. And I have a newsletter, cover letter, thank you letter, appeal, update, and much more to write.
Still… I am avoiding it all today… taking my deadlines to the brink. (I’ll be sorry tomorrow!)
I have just needed an afternoon to think, to gather my thoughts, and to enjoy the silence. No one is home. The autumn afternoon is mellow.
I am craving silence.
My husband is too. We have discussed this more than a few times in the last week! In fact, my husband rented a movie about a French monastery where the priests have taken a vow of silence. Of course, there were no words in the film, and I didn’t make it through the whole thing. I guess I am addicted to dialogue in a movie. But the film succeeded in giving the viewer a realistic idea of a silent life in a monastery.
The silence made me notice the scenery, the sunlight, the sound of the rain, even the snow, the church bells in the distance. It seems that contant speech has the power to dilute the experience of life. At least this is what I gleaned from the film.
And that’s how I feel right now. Life is diluted because of too much talking… to much going… not enough listening and yes, silence.
The church circles that we move in and are committed to are Charismatic. And I love that! But at the same time, I feel the Charismatic church has much to learn from the historic church. They have a greater understanding of different modes of worship and dedication; some are very strange to the evangelical, Christian world. But they are worth glimpsing.
In a typical Charismatic worship service, worshippers are uncomfortable with silence. We feel the space should be filled with praise or worship or prophecy or something… After a few minutes, silence is almost scary in worship.
It makes you feel out of control. That is so weird, but it does. Like in my mind, I am asking “Who’s in charge of the service? Where do we go from here? What is God saying? Instead of soaking in the silence.
Silence settles the spirit.
And I don’t think it has to say anything or underscore anything… just impart God’s presence. In my own quiet times, I have had lengthy moments of silence… prayer without words… communion without thoughts, really… just soaking in God’s sweet Spirit or HIs majesty. And I must say, some of these have been the most powerful of my devotional life.
The same could be said of corporate worship. Times of silence, though they have been few and short, have deeply ministered to me.
Silence has the power to center the soul. Proverbs says that in the abundance of words there is sin. And I know in my own life, the more I talk, the more likely I am to get into gossip or faithlessness or distrust or whatever comes from the flesh and the unrenewed me.
So here I am writing a lot of words about silence. Words again.
I will stop and enjoy these fleeting moments of pristine stillness in the quiet of the sunny afternoon. Soon the garage door will open and my daughter will bounce in with laughter; my husband will stroll in with news of the day, and those words and noises will connect us.
But for now, this silent moment is almost sacred.