in silence

Monday, April 14, 2008
We went for a long walk tonight, in silence.

Not an angry or hostile silence but a comfortable one.

It was good to get some breeze against the face again, and the blood flowing through the veins again.

The snow is nearly gone.

The silence is good too.
There are so many opportunities for my spirit to be in turmoil these days, and I need to choose the simpler ways. The ways of peace and silence, of solitude and simplicity.

Last week I wrote:
Silence in our day and age has become a rare commodity. In fact, in many places it is difficult if not impossible to experience real silence. Our homes are filled with noisy appliances, heaters and air conditioners. The stereo is on and the television broadcasts its noise to a waiting world. Our cars have am/fm/satellite/cd/dvd/ipod options so that we feel guilty if we drive in silence. Even when we are out in nature walking or running, we pipe noise into our ears to make the time more enjoyable or more productive. We long for silence and yet we are afraid of it. When the outside noise is stilled, we begin to hear our inner noise replaying history or planning for the future.

Silence is not the purpose of a contemplative retreat, but rather the vehicle through which we are paying attention to God. We discover that once weĆ¢€™ve silenced our mouths and our minds we seem to be able to see and hear with greater clarity the created world around us. For when we do not need to share our experience by talking about it, we can simply be with whatever is happening and know it to be a gift from God.

I really need to practice what I preach these days. Perhaps thats one reason that it seems everything conspires against me. The stresses of family and work and broken houses and sick friends... I need to learn what stillness looks like in times like this.

I suppose anyone can be still when nothing is happening, but it takes some practice to learn the art of inner stillness when everything is crazy.

And so this week I shall try to practice that which I preach.

I will attempt to be still, and know who is God in my life.




    l. Find a quiet place...still yourself in God's Presence. Give Him time.

    2. Remove all distractions from within your mind...write those distractions on a "to do" list.

    3. Picture yourself with Jesus...see Him.

    4. See Jesus beckon you to come to be with Him.

    5. Listen...see what He will say to you.

    6. As the Lord speaks to you...see the words and write them down as you hear each one...He will never speak faster than you write.

    7. Keep focused on the Lord...praise Him, and thank Him. Give Him honour and glory.

    8. If in doubt...test the Word that God has spoken to you (rhema) with the Bible (logos).

    9. Don't quit...don't give your fellowship with God grows you will hear and see Him more and more.

    "He walks with me, and He talks with my,
    and He tells me I am His own."

  2. This really works. I tried it and I have a hard time focusing on something like the above, etc. Cheers

  3. "Oh how great peace and quietness would he possess, who should cut off all vain anxiety and place all his confidence in God".
    - Thomas A Kempis

    I've been concentrating on this quote for a week or more. Something I need to hear again and again.

    Praying for you as you seek solitude.


    Okay, I don't know anything about downloading music off the internet, but, speaking of being "still", here is a beautiful, beautiful song (by Hillsongs, Reuben Morgan) that I heard last summer at camp. Talks about being in the midst of storms and stopping to be still, knowing God is God. The song means a lot to me, I hope you can find a download of it somewhere - sit back in your office, play it loudly so it surrounds you and let it wash over you.

  5. It seems interesting to me that whilst you started off talking about silence you ended up talking about stillness. There could be a whole other essay there about the differences and similarities between the two - haven't got time to write it myself just now though !

  6. Thank you for this. I am a former Covenanter, now a United Methodist from Washington DC, and I read the covenantblogs website fairly frequently for thought-provoking devotional material. I wanted you to know that I really appreciated this post, and that I am using (with accreditation) a slightly adapted version of the second paragraph (with a sentence from the first) of what you wrote last week as part of a devotional meditation for our church's council on silence and listening as crucial elements of communication among Christians.


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