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The Spiritual Rhythms “Five A Day”

KEEP SILENCE

Background

Silence is a rare commodity. Silence may not be the absence of God’s voice but rather a more intimate language by which God communicates with us.

A few years ago Christopher Jamison, a Benedictine monk involved in the TV programme “The Big Silence”, said:

“Silence is the gateway to knowing God and, truly, to knowing oneself. I am on a mission to help people find silence in their everyday lives because I believe that all need silence. When we enter regularly into silence we start to see things with greater clarity. I come in touch with that deepest part of myself – my soul. Most people’s lives are so full of busyness and so full of noise that they are in danger of this really important part of their lives dying away.” 1

1 - D Runcorn, Silence: The Gateway To God, Cambridge: Grove Books Ltd, 2017, p.4

For many people, keeping silence will not be a conscious or regular part of their daily routines. You may like to view, and introduce this service, as a “taster” of what it means to keep silence.

Some Biblical References

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: . . .a time to tear and a time to sew; a time to keep silence and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 7&8)

“For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.” (Psalm 62: 5&6)

See also Matthew 6: 7&8; James 3:1-12; Psalm 131.

Some Possible Approaches:

Perhaps begin by asking people what they think is good about silence, and then ask what they find challenging or off-putting. If this conversation happens in small groups, it might be possible to encourage people to explain or explore why they feel the way they do about silence.

Create a way for people to let go of, or put aside, the things they know are going to distract them if they try to keep silence – perhaps by writing things down on a piece of paper, screwing the piece of paper up and putting it in a specific place to symbolise putting these things into God’s hands; or by offering everyone a stone to hold and think about those things and as they put the stone to one side encourage them to imagine placing those concerns etc to one side – they can pick them up again later if they feel they need to.

Practice keeping silence together! There are a number of ways you could do this:

Hymns and Songs

You may not want to include many hymns/songs in this service, but some suggestions include:

If you would like to explore other ideas as you prepare your service please speak to one of the ministers.