"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers." - VoltairE

Enjoy the silence

Posted by Anne Witton on Monday, November 24, 2014 Under: Reflections
"Be still and know that I am God"
Psalm 46: 10

Our world is full of noise. Everywhere we go there’s background music, ‘special offer’ announcements on the tannoy, big screen sports and stuff clamouring for our attention. I was waiting for Abby at the doctors the other day and the TV was on showing Jeremy Kyle with people shouting at each other. What an unrelaxing environment to sit in when you’re already feeling ill! In the summer, they even put huge screens up in public spaces outside to make sure that wherever we go we’re hounded by the blare from TVs. People walk along in their own little worlds, plugged into headphones or barking into phones.

When there isn’t noise, we notice it. It’s refreshing and calming. (Which is one of the reasons I shop at Aldi and eat at Weatherspoons!) I’m a bit of an Apprentice fan and I always love the advertising task. What was interesting about last week’s was that one team’s advert didn’t include any background music. And it felt odd. And was, of course, ripped to shreds by Lord Sugar. But it does highlight how uncomfortable we feel when there isn’t constant noise filling the silence.

Some of us aren’t very comfortable with silence socially either. We find it very difficult to drive along in a car with someone or walk with them without feeling the need to chatter and fill the void that would otherwise be there.
Our churches often suffer from the same fear of silence. I've been in lots of Christian settings where there has been a period of 'reflection' where the band have carried on playing in the background. Or prayers which have started with 'a moment of silence to bring the concerns of the week to God.' This is usually about 3 seconds. I don't know about other people, but I barely have time to think, "Right - concerns of the week. Oh dear, now let me think, what did I do on Monday...?" before I'm interrupted by the prayers.

And yet we need silence. Delicious, companionable silence where we can feel safe and comfortable in each other’s company without having to utter a word. And we need to have times where we are silent before God and enjoy being in his presence without filling the space with chatter.

We need space to think and pray. We need times when we’re not taking in new information or having new sensory experiences so that we can mull over decisions and reflect on things that have happened. Our spiritual life suffers when every waking moment is spent being informed and entertained.

As I’ve been sitting in our empty new house waiting for carpet fitters and plumbers, I’ve been enjoying the silence and the opportunity to pray, reflect and read away from all the normal distractions.

I’m feeling very challenged to spend more time each day being properly quiet in God’s presence and it's a discipline that I’m going to be working on over the next few weeks and months. How about you?

In : Reflections 

Tags: silence reflection prayer spirituality 
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