“Silence” Second Week in Lent
March 1, 2018
Silence goes hand in hand with fasting—Jean-Paul Aron
I’ve made silence one of my personal spiritual practices during Lent. I’m intentionally not turning on the TV or checking my phone during certain periods when I’m at home, instead sitting or lying down in silence.
In prayer, I’m also spending time in silence in addition to reading from the Bible or a resource, instead being aware of God or seeking God or letting my body and brain come to as full a stop as I can muster.
I spent twenty-four hours on retreat this past week at Mercy by the Sea in Branford, much of it in silence, breaking it at communal prayer or meals with colleagues. At this very beautiful setting on Long Island Sound, large sitting rooms are positioned with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the water. And signs are posted that Mercy by the Sea values silence, so please observe silence in these rooms.
Sometimes silence is soothing and welcome. Sometimes my silent prayer turns into sleep, and quiet reverie is so soothing. But in allowing ample silence, like in a twenty-four hour interval, thoughts and questions and breathing can also be disturbing. It makes me wonder what might be hiding behind all my usual busyness?
Pushing aside, laying down the cares of the day and fasting from the tasks that call to our attention requires a giving over that is not easy. No longer being the master of time, instead time is spent just being. It’s kind of like slow food, where the movement in time becomes glacial-like.
Coming out of silence, I am more attentive to what I see and what I hear. I recognize that there are forces greater than I that are also in motion, like the tide of the ocean, like the feeding sea birds, like the turning of the earth toward the sun.
Could God be calling us to listen more deeply? And might we discover a greater movement outside of us that draws us from our smallness into new awareness?
My soul waits, silent for God, for God alone, my salvation, alone my rock, my safety, my refuge: I stand secure. (Psalm 62:1)
Pastor Tim KeylTags: Lent, Mercy by the Sea, Psalm 62, silence, spiritual practices in Lent, spirituality, the presence of God in silence