Silence please

Jan 22, 2011

SILENCE. Along with stillness and solitude, silence is a vital ingredient of the Christian life. (I’d say it’s a vital ingredient to any healthy human living, but that’s quite a claim so I’ll leave it in parenthesis.)

Silence has been coming up again recently. I keep bumping into it. Is it the influence of The Big Silence, recently screened by the beeb? One of our senior leaders shared about silence at a recent staff meeting; another leader blogged about silence; a young leader told me the other day how his church group spent an entire meal together in deliberate silence. Some found it transformational.

“When we enter into periods of silence, we start to see things with greater clarity,” says Christopher Jamison, Abbot of Worth Abbey, the monastery featured in The Big Silence. “We bump into our deepest selves.”

The Jesus Fellowship’s community, New Creation Christian Community, is one more marked for its activism than its contemplation, closely tied as it is to the work of Jesus Army and Jesus Centres. Our challenge, frankly as much as for the frantic secular society that surrounds us, is to find, make and protect silence within all that we do and say.

That said, people still say, when they come to our community houses, “Isn’t it peaceful?” (Sometimes the harassed members look at them gone out when they say it – but say it they do.)

I wrote a prayer a couple of years ago and still pray it now:

God, teach us silence, so that our words will not be empty, but carry power. Teach us stillness, so our activity will not be frantic, but fruitful. Teach us solitude, so that we can live in community. Amen.

I believe there are things to dig into, to explore, here. I believe this could be part of our journey into the future.