Meditation Monday: Are We All Deaf to Silence

Adapted from a 2018 post

by Christine Sine

by Christine Sine

Tom and I are getting ready to go on retreat tomorrow. Part of what I love about these times away is the silence of the place in which we stay. It is perched on a bluff looking out across the Salish Sea. One of the things I like to do during these times away is to reflect on the scriptures I have read in the last few weeks and think about what has stirred my creativity during this time.  Last week my time in Portland held some of that same silent reflection time for me and as I mentioned in the prayers and poems I posted on Saturday, this was very refreshing and relaxing for me.

When I think about silence, there are two scriptures that come to mind. The first is1 Kings 19:18, the story of Elijah fleeing from Jezebel into the desert.  In the New Revised Standard Version it reads:

Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, a sound of sheer silence.  When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

Have you ever wondered what sheer silence sounds like? How do we hear it in the midst of our noisy world and find stillness in our souls? When we do  find this holy silence, what makes us want to respond by going out of the caves in which we have hidden in order to listen to God?

We live in a world that is full of noise. This morning I am writing to the sound of Tom vacuuming in the background, planes zooming by overhead and the ever present traffic noise around me. Silence is almost impossible to find and most of us don’t know how to listen or hear what it is saying to us. But if we sit in stillness and reach deep within our hearts, there we will always find the silence of God. This is not a silence that makes us ask Why can’t I hear the voice of God? Nor is it a silence that blocks out the world around us.  Rather it is a silence, a stillness that resonates with the peace, joy and love that can only be found when we walk close to God. It is a silence that calls us to intimate relationship with the creator of the universe.  It is a silence that calls us each day to move out into God’s world in compassion and love.

It is not just sitting in a quiet place that invites me into this kind of silence. Sitting in my sacred space, taking some deep breaths and reciting my breath prayers also does. Walking around the garden early in the morning and again late at night, examining the flowers and the growing fruit, breathing in the fragrance of the roses, watching the insects flitter from flower to flower, has a similar impact on me. The garden invites me into an inner silence that transcends the noise around me.

The second scripture that came to me was Matthew 14:22-33, the story of Jesus walking on the water. What about that story speaks of silence you may ask? After all it is in the middle storm, lots of chaos, wind whistling round the boat, the disciples crying out for preservation. But into that chaos comes Jesus, calming their fears, dispelling the wind, quietening the waves. In the stillness that followed I suspect that the disciples caught a glimpse of the peace, the calm and the silence that revolved around the revelation of Jesus as the Son of God.

Thinking about both of these scriptures today this prayer/poem welled up within my heart.

Christ you come to me,
Not in the wind and the storm,
Not in the earthquake and fire,
But in the sound of sheer silence.
You come in a breath of calm,
That quiets the waves upon the sea,
Stills the turmoil of my soul,
And calls to my unquiet heart;
Be not afraid of the chaos,
Peace be still.
Come walk on the water,
Follow me across the waves.
No noise is too loud,
No task too impossible,
No pain too unbearable,
When I hold your hand,
And enter the silence of your presence,
Then peace will be the pathway for my feet.

(c) Christine Sine 2018

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