People who know me well may think the following is a miracle of sorts. It is nearly noon and I just realized that I have not spoken one word. Not one single syllable, none. Several thoughts raced through my mind when I first realized this, least of which is the fact that I don’t necessarily feel like I have anyone to talk to. Normally by now I would have made several phone calls, been to the office to pick up something I had forgotten, or gone out for a morning walk and coffee somewhere, but not today.
Friday is my day off, my Sabbath as it were. It is the day I set aside for rest, study, and simply enjoying a bit of peace. What is different about today is that it is the first full Friday I have spent in Salisbury since accepting my new call and moving. My wife and kids are still in South Carolina, and each weekend they have either come up here or I have traveled there. In either case, I have not had a Friday all to myself such as this in a very long time. And it is quiet and surprisingly pleasant.
This morning, I have enjoyed a bit of spiritual reading, mostly on other Lutheran blogs and church websites. I have also done a bit of sermon writing, and reading for our Lenten Bible study on Mondays. Lastly, I have worked a little bit on the book I have been writing for what seems like ages. In fact, the morning is about over, only a few more minutes, and I have had no human contact except for the local news on TV and a few moments of ESPN. However, strange as it may sound, these are not the only voices heard in my home this morning.
Alone in my thoughts, I have had a wonderful conversation with God. Through my reading and writing, God has spoken throughout the morning. He has guided my study for Sunday’s sermon when I had questions,and he even asked questions of his own as I prepared for Bible study. While reading blogs and visiting church websites, God has told me at least a dozen times that he loves me, and he has also shared with me the fact that so many others also love me and support me in ways too numerous to count. It really has been incredible, this morning of silence.
Sadly, the time to venture out into town is fast approaching. In a few moments I will find myself leaving the sanctuary of my living room and taking my place in line, at the stop light, or filling a cart with groceries and other needed items. The prospect of all this brings about several other questions. (Hey, I’m a pastor, I’m supposed to think like this.) Who will be the first person I speak to today? Will I speak them in love? What words will be the first uttered in conversation? So much to consider when wondering how I will break today’s silence.
It is now past noon and time to get on with the business of the day. As I said earlier, I find it strangely refreshing that I have not uttered one word until now. A morning such as this is a blessing, it allows me to consider the ways I communicate with others, and how I choose the words I say. Even as I write these final words of this post, God is speaking. He too is asking, “What are your first words for today?” He also has provided me the answer. As you come to the conclusion of today’s post, consider speaking the words God has placed on my lips that shall be my first of the day:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory; forever and ever.
I cannot remember a time in the recent past when I experienced something like this. I do remember a time during summer staff training at a Bible camp when they has us do a 18 hour silent retreat. I has never gone that long without speaking…and it was oddly peaceful. Then…while in seminary I visited a hermitage where I participated in a 24 hour silent retreat. Once again…very peaceful…just me and God.
Your post reminds me that I need to do this more often…a challenge in this busy world.
God bless your Sabbath rest.
Is it me, or is there a theme developing here? “Finding Stillness”, then “Silent Conversation”. On my way home today, I passed a church sign that simply said “Be still, and listen”. I am beginning to think God is trying to tell me something. Time off, time to be still, time to just “be”, is a rare thing. I am not much of a morning person, but maybe I need an extra 15 minutes of “stillness” to start my day, to prepare for the challenges of what is coming next, and maybe have a second cup of coffee 😉