The Sounds of Silence
Nowadays we seem to have a natural aversion to silence—we want to fill it with busyness and sound—we have our favorite radio station, Alexa, or playlist queued up at home, in the car, and while working and doing errands. We live in a part of the world where it is hard to find silence unless we leave the city. Yet my spirit yearns for those frosty nights when the air is filled only with the sounds of nature and the heartbeat of God.
It is in those quiet moments that God speaks to our hearts and souls; whispering words of encouragement, condemnation, inspiration, sadness, joy, plans for the future, reconciliation, healing, and hope. How can we follow God’s plan if we never hear the whisper, or feel the nudge, or spend intentional time in silence and prayer for God to speak, or the Holy Spirit to inspire and guide, or Jesus to nudge and encourage us?
During COVID I forgot that I used to enjoy a 24-hour silent retreat once a month—away from the phone and email—sometimes at a Retreat Center—sometimes on a hike—sometimes in the peace of my home ignoring dust bunnies, dishes, and laundry. I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when I took a 20-mile damp and chilly hike around the Bay and across the Golden Gate Bridge. I prayed for people near and dear, and strangers far away who have requested prayer. I spent much of the time in silence, just waiting, watching, and listening.
This year I invite you into a year of silence by encouraging you to add a time of silence to your daily practice. It could be five minutes of meditating on the Scripture of the day, or five minutes after your night prayers to open your heart to God’s response, maybe five minutes when you wake to hear the voice of the Holy One. How might you find ways to encounter the still small voice that dwells within you?
May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God throughout the year to come.