Posted by: Terry | August 30, 2017

Silence in the face of turmoil

“Why, my soul, are you downcast?” It’s the noise!  It is as if I am forever trapped in a Las Vegas casino, flashing lights, clanging slot machines, no sense of time, and no doors in sight. Try as I might I am addicted to the news apps on my iPad, insistently checking to see what new craziness Trump and his colleagues have offered us today, gauging wether the tension from Korea and their bombs makes it prudent to review my grade school instructions on “duck-and-cover”, steeling my self for the latest jolt of violence and terrorism, the scathing attacks from people who claim to follow the same God and Christ that I do – you get the idea. My soul struggles to not be afraid, let alone just downcast, or even angry.

Robert Cardinal Sarah wrote, “Without the moorings of silence, life is depressing movement, a puny little boat ceaselessly tossed by the violence of the waves. Silence is the outer wall that we must build in order to protect an interior edifice.” Yes, I feel like “a puny little boat ceaselessly tossed.” I need a retreat, if even for a moment..

Since our country changed, in November of 2016, the noise level has only increased. There are many who are pointing out the inconsistency of claiming to be a Christian and yet overlooking the character and message of Trump, Jerry Falwell Jr. even proclaims that Christians finally have the right kind of person in the White House, a concept that eludes me at best and more often drives me to grief. I will let others expand and proclaim that message. What I seek is peace and some calm in my soul.

For many years I have risen most days at 5.00am, yes that is early and honestly I have always been an early riser. Yet I get up early for one reason, it is then that I can find a bit of quiet in an otherwise noisy day. Settling in with a cup of tea, my Bible, and my Book of Common Prayer (BCP), ushers in a time of silence. The peace of the morning hour makes it easier to silence the noise in my head, to shut out the concerns, the task list, the news. It is a quite harbor for this puny boat on a raging sea. Morning Prayer provides the framework for a time of peace.

Prayer is something I have had to learn anew over the years.  Though I know many would protest, prayer in my past was another word for requests. Yes, I heard all of the messages explaining that prayer should include worship, and thanksgiving, as well as petitions. However, the experience of praying with many other Christians in many different settings revealed the true nature of their, and thus my, perception of prayer – it was asking God for something. Even the books on prayer place a lot of emphasis on “answered prayer.” I always found the phrase, “God always answers prayer, sometimes he just says ‘No’,” to be simplistic and frustrating – prayer is like asking a parent for something, and hoping we get our way, no wonder it most often left me empty.

When I learned that there were prayers being said by millions of Christians around the world every day, the same prayers at the same times, that was exciting. Prayer was not a solitary experience, even if done alone. As I explored these Morning Prayers from the BCP I realized that “Prayer” included reading psalms, as prayers and worship, it included reading the same Scriptures that others around the world were reading that day, and yes, prayers of request. Some of the prayers were “Common” not as being “ordinary” but as “in common” – read in common amongst many believers around the world – there is a unity of prayer here that is untouched by geography, race, denomination. There is a sense that in all of the noise of the world I can find silence for a bit, and be connected for a bit with others who are also focusing more on things eternal than things momentary.

The Morning Prayers allow me to enter into the silence so needed to reflect on God, and to be quiet enough to actually hear what he has to say. It becomes a part of that “outer wall that protects an interior edifice.” For a few minutes the rantings and ravings are blocked out, the fears set aside, the anger and accusations are forgotten. The message of “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” gives a bit of hope that maybe one day all of this will pass and there will be some sense to it all.

He stilled the storm to a whisper;

the waves of the sea were hushed.

They were glad when it grew calm,

and he guided them to their desired haven. (Ps 107:29-30)

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Responses

  1. Let go and Let God, we don’t always understand His ways but He is in control and let’s be excited to see it work to His Glory. Faith,Faith, Faith.

  2. True, of course the point was the fact that we only really meet God in the silence, and sincse the world and its events clutter our minds with noise we must seek a time and place to create enough silence to meet God and hear him.

    • Right you are, and early morning seems the best time for me also. Silence is a wonderful gift for our minds.


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