Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. Today is the first Sunday of Lent and I invite you to turn off the sounds around you to allow for prayerful reflection of the journey ahead. Take a deep cleansing breath. Do you hear the silence? Perhaps you need to move to a quieter place, far away from the noise and chaos of the day. It may be tempting to put this off because it seems there is just too much to do. Or perhaps you think you can fade out the sounds around you. But I encourage you to allow yourself to slip away to a place where you can find silence. What place might that be for you?
As we enter the Lenten season, I recall how Jesus drew away from the crowds and entered the wilderness. He sought out the silence of his journey which would ultimately lead the cross. He valued his time where he could focus on God and the struggles and temptations of life. My goal during Lent is to also find silence where I can focus on God and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Many times, I have a problem with silence. Do you? In the silence, my brain gets distracted by what happened during my day, or past situations that caused me anguish. My mind often finds no silence because my worries and concerns, or just the day to day agenda, although not spoken aloud, are loud nonetheless, and intrude the silence.
I would love to offer a quick and easy remedy to this, but I don’t really have one. That’s because it takes practice. If you want to be a great chef, you have to practice the skills that are needed. You have to practice if you want to play an instrument, drive a car, paint a picture, etc. What particular skill have you had to practice?
I remember learning to play a flute. I could barely make a sound at first. At times it seemed hopeless that I could get better. But my music teacher made me account for my practice time and I had to write down the amount of time I practiced each day.
While reflecting on my experience when learning to play my flute, I remember my Practice Card which documented the times I practiced each day, and I was inspired to grab a pen and paper (actually I opened an app on my phone) and began to document my “practice time” where I sought moments of silence to spend time with God. On the first day it was a five-minute struggle that had very little silence. I hesitantly wrote down “5 minutes”. As I struggled to begin my “practice time” I rediscovered a hymn in our Community of Christ Sings hymnal titled “Listen in the Silence”. It is a beautiful, peaceful way to tame my mind so I can practice my time of silence. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO-GLmShiVE
I invite you to join me in engaging in silence. Take another deep cleansing breath and join me in prayer.
You are my power and you are my strength. You walk with me in the chaos. You walk with me as I quickly step through my day, often rushing to accomplish one more thing. Help me to stop and find the silence where you wait for me. Help me listen for your voice and find the precious silence to dedicated to You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen
(Author: Bonnie Barber)
Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.