Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Silent Path

The modern church is surrounded by noise. In many ways, our congregations cannot survive without it. There is often loud music, either by a praise band or by a lone organ. Even in our "quiet " moments music plays in the background so there will be no uncomfortable silence. Our preachers are often loud, seemingly afraid they will not be heard unless there is volume to match the content. Church members are encouraged to clap hands, give shouts of praise and (in the words of a friend of mine), "Hoop and holler for Jesus!" We use noisy videos and special effects to insure that our church members will be entertained and stay awake, being certain that there be no "dead air," no pauses and no silence. If you judge by most modern worship it would be easy to assume that the #NarrowRoad of Jesus is a noisy one.

With this as our example, when is it we are supposed to take time to "Be still and know that God is God?" Where do we find the quiet moments in which we center our hearts for worship, in which we pray from the very depths of our souls and and in which we listen for the still, small voice of the Creator? We have given up on silence as a worship discipline in large part because we fear it. There is great depth and power in silence, and we no longer know what to do with it. True, complete silence in the 21st century leaves us gasping for air, waiting for someone else to do something to connect us to Jesus. We no longer know how to focus on God and God alone; we need "elements" to lead us there. Noise is so much easier, and worship fi;;ed with sound and action is so much easier to fake. And that is what makes me think that the #NarrowRoad is a path bathed in silence.

Lent is a wonderful time to find ways to remove some of the noise from your spiritual journey. When you pray, pray in silence. Take time to meditate, making time to listen as well as to talk to God. Turn off he music in the car as you drive alone. Sneak away to a part of the house where you can find 5 minutes of solitude (rest rooms work). We live in a society where sitting quietly contemplating the things of God is so contrary to the norm that it feels like a waste of time. We feel we should be DOING something- and doing creates noise! Silent worship is allowing the Holy Spirit to DO instead of believing it is all up to us. What did Jesus do at the most crucial times in his earthly ministry? He went off to be in solitude, to seek God's will through prayer and meditation. He sought out a quiet place, away from the noise of the world. We need to "go thou and do likewise."

Find a moment today to be overwhelmed by the power of silence. Bel alone with your thoughts and alone with your God.  Total, complete, awesome silence. No background noise, just you and God. It will change you, and will change the way you see life on the #NarrowRoad. Be blessed, my friends.

Because of Jesus,

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