Shhh…Silence

Thoughts on that which is GOLDEN and too often Overlooked and Unappreciated…

The following excerpts can be found HERE.

 

"Silence is Golden" By Carol Sweetwood

 

Christians who can hear the still small voice of God in the midst of the noise of the city… 

…without silence there is no solitude  Richard Foster.  Foster goes so far as to say that silence involves the act of listening as much as the absence of speech. A heart that does not listen to God but just refrains from talking does not qualify as silence.

…inner noise can be just as noisy as outside sound…

 Tilden Edwards in his book Living in the Presence explains the tendency of people to become noisy inside to compensate for the lack of noise on the outside. Edwards goes on to say that very little in human culture prepares one for silence. As a result, we stop short of were silence can take us in our relationship with God.

“When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”

~Proverbs 10:19

In order to hear God speak, one must listen.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

~Psalms 46:10

…We fear silence. 

Most research addresses this fear of silence and the misunderstandings that follow when there is a lack of noise. It is as if we use words to adjust our appearances before those we feel less secure with. In silence we are stripped of all our tools to justify ourselves and can only be “how we are.” This makes us uneasy around those with whom we feel less secure. We fear that our virtues might not be appreciated and our shortcomings might not be understood.

The opinion of others? God is for us, and it is God who justifies us.
Fear anyone or anything for God is our light and salvation.
Confidence from God. 
This is difficult, but why should we worry about.. We do not have to… In silence we can gather this

story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11-12, God is not in the hurricane, the earthquake, or the great fire, but in the gentle whisper.
How important is silence to the Christian? For Linthicum, one cannot know God unless one is still and silent before God. Silence is the way to be receptive and sensitive to God, which can only happen through silent solitude

…Silence frees us from what people think of us, from the stresses of the day, from the noise in our own spirit. It enables us to break the bondage of things and people, by the power of the Holy Spirit. 
I believe that this is a stronghold in urban dwellers’ lives that needs tearing down.
Silence allows us to go into the world, but not love the systems of the world. It allows us to combat the sound, for as the world fights one noise with greater noise, we fight noise through silence for we do not wage war as the world does.

…downtown Chicago as well as Victoria, BC. These are places of rest and refuge from the heat, noise, and distractions of the street. Many Catholic churches make such concessions for the city offering individual prayer, confession, and multiple masses throughout the day…

…inner-city location can make the church building a spiritual and emotional renewal center. These are spiritual oases in the middle of the desert of noise. These oases are needed much more in the city than they are in rural areas…

Some Applications:

Start with ten to fifteen minutes a day with the goal of up to an hour a day. This is not a time for hurried prayer lists and much Bible reading, but a time of silent waiting before the Lord. This time is where we still the voices in our head, listen to God’s voice, and worship Him. Again, the key verse here is Psalm 46:10, to be still. 

Another philosophy does not involve the avoidance of words, but the moderation of them. This practice tames the tongue, for it not only makes the practitioner choose their words carefully, but when done correctly, turns the individual into an active listener. The individual accomplishes this by “listening”with all of their senses, not just their ears. By listening to body language and behaviors of those around us, we can hear more than just words. Some research notes that as much as 75% of all communication is non-verbal. People that can interpret these nonverbal signals can become effective communicators.

The point is this: listen more than you speak, in your relationship with God and with others. gives is this, “God gave us two ears and one mouth…so that we might listen twice as much as we talk.”   The ratio that Dallas Willard gives is this, “God gave us two ears and one mouth…so that we might listen twice as much as we talk.”

When we practice not speaking, our tongues do not automatically “go off.” This provides a certain inner distance that gives us time to fully consider what we are going to say and the control of when we say it. Silence helps us calm the inner voices and really listen to people, instead of trying to form our next thought when someone is speaking. This concept of active listening helps us to pay attention to people. 

On the eve of His greatest mission, Jesus sought the solitude of the garden of Gethsemane, where He spent time alone with His Father.

We enjoy the rush of ministry activity, but feel uncomfortable sitting at the feet of Jesus

The general value of silent meditation is found in nearly every religion and is a real part of New Age philosophy. This particular article focuses on some Buddhist forms of meditation, but there is a distinction. In Christianity, we are not trying to empty ourselves for the sake of emptying ourselves, but asking the Lord to fill us with His presence. The difference is clear, Christian silent meditation is being in the presence of God. It is not about achieving some higher level of consciousness or to “be at one with the universe.” It is the act of intentionally refraining from noise and speech to seek Jesus. Those pursuing undefined spiritual realities, however sincere, can be led into tragic self-destruction.

Instead of vocal prayer before a meal, Foster offers the suggestion to invite everyone for a moment of “gathered silence.”

John Durham offers a progressive approach that begins with a minute of corporate silence. Directed by a quotation so that the individuals will not retire to their own private prayers, which Durham believes is “destructive of true corporate worship.”

And there is so much more to read!  DO SO!!
And let us Reclaim and/or Practice Silence

 

 

 

 

 

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