Sound of Silence

I was recently asked to share on my church’s Facebook Live page about what my journey through lockdown has been like. It was an interesting process for me as I live in a large house with four adults, which means each of us can have our own space. With that in mind the overwhelming theme for me has been solitude and silence. I am an introvert so I draw energy from being alone, which has meant working in my bubble has given me a lot of vitality.

One of the overriding facets for me in the stillness and silence has been my awareness of the birds in our trees at the back of our property. A bit like St Francis of Assisi as I stepped away from the world to a greater extent I became more aware of other aspects of God’s Kingdom. This started me thinking about how I’m connecting with God in this time and considering where have I seen the activity of God in my life? In fact how was I doing with my spiritual disciplines and practices?

Well I was spending a whole lot more time in silence and solitude with God than I was when I was travelling to work. This is quite a nice change from the usual noisy attention-grabbing world we inhabit. I have a friend who describes silence as God’s first language; which is an interesting viewpoint. That does not mean I’m averse to soaking in worship, in fact I have the earbuds in listening to my favourite worship playlist right now.

But what else was I doing? Well let’s look at some of the other individual disciplines including study, meditation, prayer, fasting and simplicity. I will deal with a couple of the lesser known disciplines first. Simplicity; I think the rhythm of life has become a lot simpler and I am able to spend time with God because I have more space. As for fasting, the least said the better; I am more worried about the weight I am putting on!

I believe that I have certainly had more quality time with God during lockdown than I have for a while. As I said in a previous email I have been involved a 49 day Lent reading programme. So reading and listening to the Word of God in an organised way is quite important to me. At present I am taking part in a book based study into the life of David for three weeks. I believe that the reading of the Bible nurtures and feeds my spirit, it guides me in the day-to-day living of life.

Prayer and meditation are things that can be confusing at times because we wonder what to pray? How to pray? How much? When? Meditating on what? For me prayer and meditation are important gifts from God. They are a choice, but prayer is also a lifeline to the Almighty. I have an eclectic prayer pattern from unstructured prayer to Celtic prayers and the use of a modernised Book of Common Prayer amongst other resources. Beyond the Lord’s Prayer, I am not sure there is a “right” way to pray. What is really important to me is that I do pray and meditate, really getting to know the God I worship.

To the Jews who believed Him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32.

How and where are you experiencing God during this time?

Let’s keep connecting with each other. The Promise Keepers Group on Facebook [here] is available for you to share your views and connect with other men across the country. This is the place where you can reach out for help; tell us how you are doing; or chat with the guys. If you want or need to chat, email me [here].

In the immortal words of Hill Street Blues “Let’s be careful out there!”

Paul Monahan

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