Silence!

from Rev. Bruce Wood - May 2016

Published in News First — our monthly church newsletter  

A few Sunday’s ago we reflected on the place of Silence in our lives.  Silence that ironically takes so much energy to generate, in a world that is constantly active and constantly noisy.

Noise comes in many forms - and finding space that is quiet and peaceful is often challenging.  When we do - how difficult is it to sit in that silence, without wondering if we shouldn’t be doing something - or saying something - and instead, letting our minds roam free from all the issues and concerns that crowd our daily living?

Much of our living is noise, noise and more noise - the air is thick with it.  And when we do find some quite - like at home when all the family are out - we often turn on one of our own noise machines - the TV or the radio or a CD - just to have a distraction - because silence in the house is too much to bear.  Noise is not only an ordeal - for many it’s an addiction. 

A wonderful and evocative example of the value of silence comes from Psalm 23 which says in part - ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul.’

That little bit of the Psalm, is enough to make us weep.  How often do we lie down in green pastures and allow our soul to be restored?  How often do we sit beside still waters and let them revive our inner being?  How often do we allow ourselves the thought that we have everything we need?

Here we find comfort and acceptance, in the face of living with fear, and anxiety, and trauma - here we find calmness and tranquillity, amongst the worst that the world can throw at us - here we find peace and serenity, amongst the stresses of our living - and here we find hope and grace for our every-day living.

But all of that is only possible if we take the time to let those words sink into our sometimes thick skull, and our often cynical heart.  Our being has a need for time spent in the silence - to allow the presence of God to saturate our soul - to overcome our darkness - and to speak comfort and challenge into our hearts and into our heads. 

However, listening takes discipline and self-will to create.  Silence can’t be created or found, without some effort on our part.  And yet, silence can be so powerful - that it becomes deafening.

So why do we talk so much?  Do we have to fill the space - do we like the sound of our own voices - do we think that other people need to know what we know?  When we are young, we tend to be brash and impatient, and see silence as a bit of a waste.  It seems that only as we get older that we are able to sit next to one another and say nothing - and still feel content.  That silence, can make the most profound statement of all. 

Dawn is often a great time of silence - as it tends to be the time when nothing breathes - where everything is spellbound - only the light moves - a time to let our minds wander and be free to enjoy the experience.  For some of us silence comes as we scratch in the garden - or work on a project - or escape in a book - or simply walk out the back door to enjoy the view.

Silence makes space for the inner voice of our soul to have a say in our living - a gift of grace to our soul.  When we do make the time to sit in silence - we may find a sense of peace somewhere deep within us, that will fill our soul - and deepen our connection with the source of all life.  When was the last time you sat in silence and just listened for any length of time?

          Peace, Rev. Bruce Wood