Monday, December 10, 2012

"The Sound of Silence" #KeepingAdvent

When I was a teenager, the only record store in town was near my father’s office.  From time to time, I could give him my saved-up money, the name of the new 45 I wanted, and he would bring it home for me.  When Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” was my request, he jumped at the chance to buy it, sure that it would be a relief from the crazy rock ‘n’ roll I normally listened to.  “The Sound of Silence,” he teased, “what a great concept.  Two and a half minutes of silence coming from your record player!”

My advent calendar for today says, “Is there a quiet place in your life? Try to find one and go there for awhile.”  Since I am the only one living in my house, there are numerous quiet places there. In fact, in any room I can find total – sometimes deafening—silence.  But finding a quiet place and being quiet are very different things. 

We are constantly bombarded by noise – music in stores, iThings, toys, traffic, music while on hold with the cable company, other people’s cell phone conversations, leaf blowers, the ice maker, ‘white noise’ to cover the other noises…. One friend often says, “I don’t really watch TV; I just turn it on for the noise.”  My students complain, “It’s too quiet in here; I can’t think.”  So we need posters and calendars (and blogs) to remind us to slow down, be quiet, listen.

 It’s hard to be quiet during Advent or any other time of the year.  More so, why is it important to be quiet during Advent?

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...We need silence to be able to touch souls.” - Mother Theresa

“Silence is God's first language; everything else is a poor translation. In order to hear that language, we must learn to be still and to rest in God.”  - Thomas Keating

Thomas Merton, monk, poet, and spiritual writer whose life and work our church recognizes today, wrote, “This then is what it means to seek God perfectly: to withdraw from illusion and pleasure, from worldly anxieties and desires… to entertain silence in my heart and listen for the voice of God; … to receive the secret contact of God in obscure love; to love all men as myself...”

I need the sound of silence to still my heart, to breathe, to rest, to be open to whatever God has for me.  Without the silence, my heart and mind are so full of other things that I’m afraid I won’t have room for the amazing gift of Jesus that I know is coming.  I need the quiet time to open a special place deep in my core so that Jesus can live in me and I in him.

Again the words of Thomas Merton, “Let me rest in Your will and be silent.  Then the light of Your joy will warm my life. Its fire will burn in my heart and shine for Your glory.  This is what I live for. Amen, amen.”

Written by Jan Lamb
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