He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” 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. 1 King 19:11-13
Silence and stillness should not be foreign concepts to the church. God speaks to us in the stillness. When sent to Mt Carmel, the prophet Elijah encounters God not in an earthquake, fire, or furious wind, but in a gentle breeze. On Mt Sinai, Moses is removed from his people and only feels the Lord’s presence from a turned back.
To the world silence involves weakness and stillness, capitulation. A silent person, someone refusing to engage in the exchange of noise and ideas, is without a trajectory, seemingly void of power and authority. This is how the Roman authorities perceive the silence of Jesus. In his reply to Pilate, Jesus makes no grand gestures or replies that would befit a king. In the silent presence of Christ, we see that silence is a way the Spirit moves. http://www.washingtoninst.org/7649/lent-and-the-lessons-of-silence/
What I Learned in the Silence of Lent
Today is the last day of Lent and the Daniel Fast for the congregation of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. For this final post, I want to share what I learned sitting in silent meditation, twice a day, for 40 days:
- Be Persistent: Meditation allowed me to pay attention to God speaking to me in the silence. It’s not easy and takes commitment, but the time spent has been worthwhile. I will continue to meditate and listen for direction.
- Be Real: I became more aware of the desires of my heart that I have avoided hearing over the years. I have allowed the voices of others and the voice of my fear to speak more loudly than my faith. My authentic self showed up in the silence.
- Be Focused: The angst over what to eat, what time to eat it, and longing for what I shouldn’t eat took me away from my focus on hearing God. I will not fast 40 days again—a weekend or maybe 10 days. But, focusing on food is not focusing on God. I finished the Daniel Fast with a juice fast on Friday and Saturday. I was relaxed and peaceful. No food, just liquids—no worries. By keeping my focus on listening for God during my silent meditation and writing what I hear in my journal, I was able to learn more about God’s direction for my life.
Thank you for the honor of your company on this journey. You have been my inspiration and reason I have kept going. I hope you can reflect on how you have heard God during these 40 days. In the silence is where we meet and hear God.
Prayer: Our God who speaks to us in the sound of sheer silence, we ask that you will create spaces in our lives to hear you, to know you and to love you. Amen.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:19-23
Click below to hear CeCe Winans “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”
Resources—More thoughts on silence
http://wordshalfheard.blogspot.com/2012/03/lenten-silence-charash-be-still.html Lovely meditation on the various ways silence can be known
http://adamdavisblog.com/2013/03/lent-2013-silent-saturday-day-36/ A meditation on “Silent Saturday,” something to think about.