Pastor’s Column – Mar 2024

Pastor’s Column – Mar 2024

“Silence” by Rene Mensen is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

In a world of noise, confusion and conflict it is necessary that there be places of silence, inner discipline and peace. In such places love can blossom.

In Silence God ceases to be an object and becomes an experience.

Thomas merton

4’ 33’’ is a world-famous song composed by John Cage. It was composed in 1952 for any instrument or combination of instruments. It is divided into three movements, and when you add the total time of each movement together it equals the title of the piece, 4’ 33’’. When it was released, 4’ 33’’ shook the music world with controversy. Why? While the piece was written for different instruments, for the entire 4’ 33’’ there is complete silence. No instrument is to be played. If a pianist were to perform it, they would simply sit at the piano for 4 minutes and 33 seconds and then take their bow. You may have opinions and feelings about this piece of … “music,” however Cage wanted the audience to experience silence, to really be aware of the sounds and shuffles of those who gathered to listen. He wanted them to be aware and fully present to one another. Cage said, “I didn’t wish it to appear, even to me, as something easy to do or as a joke. I wanted to mean it utterly and be able to live with it.”

We don’t live well with silence. The T.V. has to be on in the background. The radio has to be playing in the car. We have to listen to an audiobook on our daily walk. We live in a society that believes we need to be busy, productive, and entertained at all times. Silence is not a waste of time; being still is not for the privileged; it is a human necessity. As Christians, it is through a silencing of our voice, thoughts, and a world of noise, that we can fully be with God. Thomas Merton so wisely says, “in Silence God ceases to be an object and becomes an experience.” God is more than the right words or right believe, God is real and present with us. In Silence, we can finally rest and simply be with God.

Throughout Lent, we have several opportunities to experience God by quieting the noise around and within us. On Wednesdays, we have both a prayer service on Zoom at noon and a healing service in the sanctuary at 8pm, both including moments to simply be with God. On Sundays, instead of a pastoral prayer we have been holding a moment of silence.

For many of us, silent prayer is a challenge. We can’t get the to-do list out of our head, or we ruminate over something going on in our life. There is a reason why it is considered a spiritual discipline. It takes discipline to quiet the noise around you and in you. In your devotional time, or in a quiet moment of your day, I invite you to be still and know that God is God. I invite you to experience the very real presence of God with you. That is what this season is all about.

Here are a couple of tips that may help…

  1. Make sure you are in a relaxed position. Feet firmly on the floor. Notice the tension in your body. Once you notice it, do your best to release it.
  2. Take several deep breaths. Feel your body begin to calm down, settling in the moment.
  3. As you begin to quiet the noise around you, if a thought or errand pops into your head, acknowledge it and let it go.
  4. Be. Be with the God that is with you now and always has been.

Blessings for the journey,
Rev. Keith McDevitt