Day 2 of my 5 a day reflection
As I write this Alison is on the telephone to her Mum and because of her Mums deafness Alison is having to shout. I phoned my Dad yesterday and as his deafness seems a lot worse I felt as though I was shouting even louder.
And I say all that as a deaf person myself, aware that others are speaking loudly to me !!
We live in a world of noise all around us; constant traffic, music, chatter, buzz of life itself, people talking on their mobile phones, headphones clamped to people’s ears. When I’m in the car driving I usually have radio 2 or radio Derby playing. It often seems as though we cannot exist without noise in our lives.
As Methodists silence is rarely a part of our worship, but I’m aware that for me it is an integral part of the Celtic rhythm of life. Saint Cuthbert (and many others) would withdraw to a quiet place for contemplation and prayer. For him it was a small island just off Lindisfarne (or Holy Island), in the picture, which for many hours would be cut off by the incoming tide. It is important to escape the busyness of life, the noise and the bustle to a quiet place. Our model for this is Jesus himself, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed“. Mark 1:35
If Jesus felt the need to be quiet and alone how much more should we ? The realisation of this came fully home in 2010 when I was on a three-day retreat to the then Mother House of the Northumbria Community, Nether Springs.
I think that it was here that I first discovered the sense of peace that comes with withdrawing from busyness and it was here sitting quietly in contemplation perhaps of a Scripture passage or with an object or just sitting in a state of ‘being’ that I more fully felt close to God.
On our visit to Orkney in 2015 it was at many of the ancient stones that I would stand alone and marvel. On our last night I got into the car and just drove to be with God at what had become for me a ‘thin’ place where Heaven and Earth seem closer than ever.
When I’m in Romania I have a particular spot where I nearly always end up at some point in the day just stop, sometimes for 5 minutes sometimes more, and just focus purely on God, listening for his small, quiet voice.
Where do you find silence ? Do you sit comfortably with it ?
If I want to listen to Alison I have to stop what I’m doing and give her my time and attention; how much more should we give time to God, even if silence is uncomfortable or unnatural for us ? It’s often in that stillness that we hear or feel God speaking to us,
directing us and leading us forward or maybe that’s what we are scared of ! If it is that we are fearful of where God might lead us then we should remember He only eve
r wants what is best for us, not what could harm us.
Today, in our Covenant services at Church, we had times of silence and as this is a particularly troublesome time in our Circuits journey I really found those times of quiet the most valuable; an oasis of certainty in the midst of a desert of uncertainty.
I encourage you to find your place to be silent each day.