Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Significance of Silence

Last sunday John T gave a sermon from when Jesus stood on trial and was silent.  There is a power in silence.  Jesus had shared his power, his love, his ministry, his teaching - now he stood silent before his accusers.  If he had spoken he would not have been  believed.

On Tuesday Val P gave a meditation which focused also on silence.  She read from a quote from Geronimo.
'We had no churches, no religious organizations, no sabbath day, no holidays, and yet we worshiped.  Sometimes the whole tribe would assemble and sing and pray; sometimes a smaller number; perhaps only two or three.  The songs had a few words, but were not fromal.  the singer would occasionally put in such words as he wished instead of the usual tone sound.  Sometimes we prayed in silence; sometimes each prayed aloud;  sometimes an aged person prayed for all of us.  As other times one would rise and speak to us of our duties to each other and to Usen.  Our services were short.  Geronimo (Apache Cheif 1829-1909)

Another quote is from Luther Standing Bear (1868?-1939)
'Conversation was never begun at one, nor in a hurried manner.  No one was quick with a question, no matter how important, and no one was pressed for an answer.  A pause giving time for thought was the truly courteous way of beginning and conducting a conversation.  Silence was meaningful with the Lakota, and his granting a space of silence to the speech-maker and his own moment of silence before talking was done in the practice of true politeness and regard for the rule that, 'thought comes before speech'.

and the last meditation was by a man named Leslie D. Weatherhead from his book 'A Private House of Prayer' 1958.    It was an extended reading so i am not going to write it all out but it was really sharing an experience of silence which impacted his life.  Sometimes a sound interprets the silence. The sound emphasise's the silence which made him feels so wrapped up in the presence of God and he did not want to loose it.  He then writes 'I felt that I understood a little better that strange experience of Elijah.  After the wind and the earthquake and fire, he heard  'a still small voice,' or if we interpret more literally,  'a sound of gentle stillness.'  The sound interpreted the silence. [...] Some words of Pascal come to the mind in this regard.  'All the evils of life,' he said, 'have fallen upon us because men will not sit alone quietly in a room.'  

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