Tuesday, July 31, 2012

the soil of your soul, day 2

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer
Father,
     Allow the soil of my soul to be a place that is fertile and receptive to all that you desire to plant in my heart. Tend it carefully and nurture all that has sprung up in me that is of you; that I may be a garden of your delight. Through Jesus. Amen. (JLB)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 65

Scripture for the Day: Mark 4:26-29

Reading for Reflection:

     Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.  For just as the winds carries thousands of invisible and visible winged seeds, so the stream of time brings with it germs of spiritual vitality that come to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of men.  Most of these unnumbered seeds perish and are lost, because men are not prepared to receive them: for such seeds as these can not spring up anywhere except in the good soil of liberty and desire.
     The mind that is the prisoner of its own pleasure and the will that is the captive of its own desire cannot accept the seeds of a higher pleasure and a supernatural desire.
     For how can I receive the seeds of freedom if I am in love with slavery and how can I cherish the desire of God if I am filled with another and opposite desire?  God will not plant His liberty in me because I am a prisoner and I do not even desire to be free.  I love my captivity and I lock myself in the desire for things that I hate, and I have hardened my heart against true love. (Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton)


Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: You Have Redeemed My Soul

You have redeemed my soul from the pit of emptiness
You have redeemed my soul from death (Repeat)

I was a hungry child, a dried up river.
I was a burned out forest
And no one could do anything for me
But you put food in my body, water in my dry bed
And to my blackened branches
You brought springtime green and a new life
And nothing is impossible for you


Closing Prayer:
Grow your good grace in me O God. Make me receptive to the ways that you water and tend this garden of my heart. Prune me where I need pruning, nurture me where I need nurturing, weed me where I need weeding, and care for me tenderly where I need your tender care. I love you, O Gardner of my soul. In the tenderness of Jesus. Amen. (JLB)

Monday, July 30, 2012

the soil of your soul, day 1

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer
Father,
     Allow the soil of my soul to be a place that is fertile and receptive to all that you desire to plant in my heart.  Tend it carefully and nurture all that has sprung up in me that is of you; that I may be a garden of your delight. Through Jesus.  Amen. (JLB)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 65

Scripture for the Day: Mark 4:1-20

Reading for Reflection:

     When you meditate or abide in your quiet times of communion, you do not charge in and do something, like saying, “I will now be good and move mountains by my act of faith.”  No, you water your garden, knowing that these ideas are growing into a heavenly garden; the indwelling spirit doeth the work, not you: you merely water it.  Do you not see the comfort there is in that?  I can tell you in primer language that a very gentle, calm, unemotional, selfless, and patient attitude toward your spiritual growth is essential—such as all old gardeners know.  They know that patience, hoeing, watering, and certain order, a quiet rhythm, bring a heavenly beauty. (Letters of the Scattered Brotherhood edited by Mary Strong)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: You Have Redeemed My Soul

You have redeemed my soul from the pit of emptiness
You have redeemed my soul from death (Repeat)

I was a hungry child, a dried up river. 
I was a burned out forest
And no one could do anything for me
But you put food in my body, water in my dry bed
And to my blackened branches
You brought springtime green and a new life
And nothing is impossible for you

Closing Prayer:
     Grow your good grace in me O God.  Make me receptive to the ways that you water and tend this garden of my heart.  Prune me where I need pruning, nurture me where I need nurturing, weed me where I need weeding, and care for me tenderly where I need your tender care.  I love you, O Gardner of my soul.  In the tenderness of Jesus.  Amen.  (JLB)
 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

time, day 7

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
Lord,
      Help me walk slowly and deeply with you through the hours and minutes of this day—that I might find all of you that is to be found within it. Allow me not to miss you because of hurry or busyness, but let me sense the fullness of your presence in each moment. Slow down both my feet and my heart that I might be more present to you as I go about my normal activities. In the Name of Jesus I pray. Amen. (JLB)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 90

Scripture for the Day: Hebrews 3:7-19

Reading for Reflection:

When I imagine my own life simple and uncomplicated, I picture my room and desk tidy, everything in its place.  I myself am moving gracefully and graciously from one task to the next with precision, on schedule but with no strain or pressure.  The schedule and the tasks are perfectly synchronized.  It could all be so simple, I say to myself, if everything were only in its place.
     But it isn’t.  It’s complicated.  It’s complicated because people don’t stay in place.  They aren’t predictable, they foul up my schedule, they interfere with my agenda, they make demands I hadn’t programmed.  It’s complicated because there is too much to do, too many tasks, too many needs, too much going on.  I can’t keep up with it all; I’m always at least a step or two behind.  I can’t do everything that needs to be done; I feel burdened, sometimes even guilty, for being so limited.  And I think maybe I’m doing it wrong, and if I could just figure out how to do it right I’d be able to meet everyone’s needs.  It’s complicated because there’s never enough time.  In my anxiety to conquer time by controlling its dispensation, I feel myself victimized by it.  I am unable to find time, take time, get time: all control words.
     Mostly what I find is frustration.  My life is out of control.  I feel a need to be in control of my life and all the factors, situations, and people that complicate it.  I set myself over-against them and need to dominate them, to subject them to my agenda, fit them into my program.  I do have an agenda, and I don’t want it interrupted.  I set up my day and I offer it to God.
     But there’s something wrong in the picture.  When I imagine—or when I experience—the simple way, everything moves in a rhythm.  There is an Agenda, and I’m in tune with it, but it’s not my creation.  I don’t need to worry about controlling; I don’t need to be anxious that it won’t all work out.  I’m not in command and don’t need to be….  The interruptions are as integral to the scene as anything I had planned.  I only receive the day and the program that comes to me during the day from God.  And that’s what makes the difference. (Reflections on Simplicity by Elaine M. Prevallet)


Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: Come, Now is the Time to Worship
Come, now is the time to worship
Come, now is the time to give your heart
Come, just as you are to worship
Come, just as you are before your God
Come

One day every tongue will confess you are God
One day every knee will bow
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose you now

Closing Prayer:
O Christ, when I look at you I see that you were never in a hurry, never ran, but always had time for the pressing necessities of the day. Give me that disciplined, poised life with time always for the thing that matters. For then I would be a disciplined person. Amen. (The Way by E. Stanley Jones)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

time, day 6

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
Lord,
      Help me walk slowly and deeply with you through the hours and minutes of this day—that I might find all of you that is to be found within it. Allow me not to miss you because of hurry or busyness, but let me sense the fullness of your presence in each moment. Slow down both my feet and my heart that I might be more present to you as I go about my normal activities. In the Name of Jesus I pray. Amen. (JLB)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 90

Scripture for the Day: Luke 12:35-48

Reading for Reflection:

     Not long after moving to Chicago, I called a wise friend to ask for some spiritual direction.  I described the pace at which things tend to move in my current setting.  I told him about the rhythms of our family life and about the present condition of my heart, as best I could discern it.  What did I need to do, I asked him, to be spiritually healthy?
     Long pause.
     “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life,” he said at last.  Another long pause.
     “Okay, I’ve written that one down,” I told him, a little impatiently.  “That’s a good one.  Now what else is there?”  I had many things to do, and this was a long-distance conversation, so I was anxious to cram as many units of spiritual wisdom into the least amount of time possible.
     Another long pause.
     “There is nothing else,” he said.
     He was the wisest spiritual mentor I have known.  And while he doesn’t know every detail about every grain of sin in my life, he knows quite a bit.  And from an immense quiver of spiritual sagacity, he drew only one arrow.  “There is nothing else,” he said, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
     Imagine for a moment that someone gave you this prescription, with the warning that your life depends on it.  Consider the possibility that perhaps your life does depend on it.  Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day.  Hurry can destroy our souls.  Hurry can keep us from living well.  As Carl Jung wrote, “Hurry is not of the devil; hurry is the devil.”
     Again and again, as we pursue spiritual life, we must do battle with hurry.  For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith.  It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it.  We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them. (The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: Come, Now is the Time to Worship

Come, now is the time to worship
Come, now is the time to give your heart
Come, just as you are to worship
Come, just as you are before your God
Come

One day every tongue will confess you are God
One day every knee will bow
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose you now


Closing Prayer:
O Christ, when I look at you I see that you were never in a hurry, never ran, but always had time for the pressing necessities of the day. Give me that disciplined, poised life with time always for the thing that matters. For then I would be a disciplined person. Amen. (The Way by E. Stanley Jones)

Friday, July 27, 2012

time, day 5

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
Lord,
      Help me walk slowly and deeply with you through the hours and minutes of this day—that I might find all of you that is to be found within it. Allow me not to miss you because of hurry or busyness, but let me sense the fullness of your presence in each moment. Slow down both my feet and my heart that I might be more present to you as I go about my normal activities. In the Name of Jesus I pray. Amen. (JLB)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 90

Scripture for the Day: Mark 13:28-37

Reading for Reflection:

     I will never forget the afternoon that I was called to the emergency room where Duane Barney was just rushed after a heart attack.  Duane was the chair of the search committee that brought me to the church, and was my frequent advisor.  I depended greatly on his mature spiritual counsel, and I depended even more on his gracious friendship.
     When I arrived at the hospital, I found Virginia, his wife, sitting with another member of our church staff.  After talking about his condition with the physician, we prayed, talked to each other, read some Scripture, and then we prayed some more.  We made a few phone calls to family members who lived out of town.  Then we got to that point where you just sit quietly and wait for some news.  We waited for a long time.  In life, the waiting is so important because it prepares us for the news that comes not from a doctor, but from the Savior.
     After about a half hour, Virginia absentmindedly picked up Duane’s DayTimer, which had been given to her by the ambulance driver.  As she began to thumb through the pages, a gentle smile emerged on her tear-streaked face.  On every page, at the bottom of a full day of appointments, Duane had made a list of things for which he was particularly thankful that day.  And at the top of every list was the name Virginia.
     Duane did not survive that heart attack, but Virginia did.  Knowing that she was so dearly loved made all the difference at the end of Duane’s life.
     Since that day in the waiting room, I have often wondered what people would learn about me if they picked up my DayTimer.  Would they discover that I, like Duane, used each day as an expression of gratitude?  Or would they simply see a life that had been crammed into the half-hour slots on each page? (Hustling God by M. Craig Barnes)


Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: Come, Now is the Time to Worship
 
 
Come, now is the time to worship
Come, now is the time to give your heart
Come, just as you are to worship
Come, just as you are before your God
Come

One day every tongue will confess you are God
One day every knee will bow
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose you now


Closing Prayer:
O Christ, when I look at you I see that you were never in a hurry, never ran, but always had time for the pressing necessities of the day. Give me that disciplined, poised life with time always for the thing that matters. For then I would be a disciplined person. Amen. (The Way by E. Stanley Jones)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

time, day 4

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
Lord,
      Help me walk slowly and deeply with you through the hours and minutes of this day—that I might find all of you that is to be found within it. Allow me not to miss you because of hurry or busyness, but let me sense the fullness of your presence in each moment. Slow down both my feet and my heart that I might be more present to you as I go about my normal activities. In the Name of Jesus I pray. Amen. (JLB)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 90

Scripture for the Day: Psalm 103:13-19

Reading for Reflection:

     Hope that grows out of trust puts us in a different relationship to the hours and days of our lives.  We are constantly tempted to look at time as chronology, as chronos, as a series of disconnected incidents and accidents.  This one way we think we can manage time or subdue tasks.  Or a way that we feel the victims of our schedules.  For this approach also means that time becomes burdensome.  We divide our time into minutes and hours and weeks and let its compartments dominate us.
     As still not completely converted people we immerse ourselves in clock time.  Time becomes a means to an end, not moments in which to enjoy God or pay attention to others.  And we end up believing that the real thing is always still to come.  Time for celebrating or praying or dreaming gets squeezed out.  No wonder we get fatigued and deflated!  No wonder we sometimes feel helpless or impoverished in our experience of time.
     But the gospel speaks of “full” time.  What we are seeking is already here.  The contemplative Thomas Merton once wrote, “The Bible is concerned with time’s fullness, the time for an event to happen, the time for an emotion to be felt, the time for a harvest or for the celebration of a harvest” (The Literary Essays of Thomas Merton).  We begin to see history not as a collection of events interrupting what we “must” get done.  We see time in light of faith in the God of history.  We see how the events of this year are not just a series of incidents and accidents, happy or unhappy, but the molding hands of God, who wants us to grow and mature.
     Time has to be converted, then, from chronos, mere chronological time, to kairos, a New Testament Greek word that has to do with opportunity, with moments that seems ripe for their intended purpose.  Then, even while life continues to seem harried, while it continues to have hard moments, we say, “Something good is happening amid all this.”  We get glimpses of how God might be working out his purposes in our days.  Time becomes not just something to get through or manipulate or manage, but the arena of God’s work with us.  Whatever happens—good things or bad, pleasant or problematic—we look and ask, “What might God be doing here?” We see the events of the day as continuing occasions to change the heart.  Time points to Another and begins to speak to us of God. (Turn My Mourning Into Dancing by Henri J. M. Nouwen)


Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: Come, Now is the Time to Worship

Come, now is the time to worship
Come, now is the time to give your heart
Come, just as you are to worship
Come, just as you are before your God
Come


One day every tongue will confess you are God
One day every knee will bow
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose you now



Closing Prayer:
O Christ, when I look at you I see that you were never in a hurry, never ran, but always had time for the pressing necessities of the day. Give me that disciplined, poised life with time always for the thing that matters. For then I would be a disciplined person. Amen. (The Way by E. Stanley Jones)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

time, day 3

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
Lord,
     Help me walk slowly and deeply with you through the hours and minutes of this day—that I might find all of you that is to be found within it. Allow me not to miss you because of hurry or busyness, but let me sense the fullness of your presence in each moment. Slow down both my feet and my heart that I might be more present to you as I go about my normal activities. In the Name of Jesus I pray. Amen. (JLB)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 90

Scripture for the Day: 2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2

Reading for Reflection:

     In each moment of chronological time, the divine value of each moment is available to us in proportion to our sensitivity to the Spirit of Christ.  The Spirit suggests what is to be done at each moment in our relationship to God, ourselves, other people, and the cosmos.  When we listen to the movements of the Spirit rather than to our own bright ideas and self-centered programs for happiness, the internal commentary that normally sustains our emotional upsets comes to an end, enabling us to accept difficult situations and people. (Awakenings by Thomas Keating)


     “My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4).  Jesus lived with a keen sense of the opportune time.  He recognized the deep rhythms of God’s purpose flowing through his days, and sensed when they would coalesce into the weighty hour.  There would be the hour of the final table fellowship (Luke 22:14), abandonment (John 16:32), glorification (John 17:1), departure (John 13:1), and unexpected return (Luke 12:40).  There would be episodes of healing (John 4:52), seasons of true worship (John 4:23), and moments of remembrance (John 16:4).  So conscious was Jesus of the steadfast love of God enduring throughout the meandering course of human history that he could give himself freely and fully to the current events surrounding him.  Far from being swept along by time’s rush and tumble, Jesus lived life purposefully and therefore patiently. (Weavings, July/August 2003, John Mogabgab, p. 2)


Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: Come, Now is the Time to Worship

Come, now is the time to worship
Come, now is the time to give your heart
Come, just as you are to worship
Come, just as you are before your God
Come


One day every tongue will confess you are God
One day every knee will bow
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose you now



Closing Prayer:
O Christ, when I look at you I see that you were never in a hurry, never ran, but always had time for the pressing necessities of the day. Give me that disciplined, poised life with time always for the thing that matters. For then I would be a disciplined person. Amen. (The Way by E. Stanley Jones)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

time, day 2

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
Lord,
     Help me walk slowly and deeply with you through the hours and minutes of this day—that I might find all of you that is to be found within it. Allow me not to miss you because of hurry or busyness, but let me sense the fullness of your presence in each moment. Slow down both my feet and my heart that I might be more present to you as I go about my normal activities. In the Name of Jesus I pray. Amen. (JLB)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 90

Scripture for the Day: Isaiah 58:11-14

Reading for Reflection:

     We redeem time (Ephesians 5:15-16 KJV) when we allow a moment or a series of moments to become for us a vehicle of God’s presence.  To redeem time is to make time transparent so that we experience it not as pressure (“Hurry up, hurry up, we haven’t enough time”), but as a sign of the holy.  Obviously, we can’t always live this way, but we can live in such a way that the redemption of time becomes an ongoing and consistent possibility.  I call this living in a Sabbath rhythm, and I am more and more convinced that the development of such a rhythm is at the heart of the recovery of authentic spirituality. 
     We can begin living in a Sabbath rhythm by deliberately setting aside one day in the week that will be lived differently from the rest.  For some people Sunday becomes this kind of day.  It seems to me, however, that this tends to confuse the issue.  For the Christian, the Sabbath is not the same as Sunday; it is a preparation for Sunday.  The idea is to take a day a week and deliberately slow it down.  Our Sabbath can be Saturday or a regular workday, but it is a day that is planned.
     We begin the day with a prayer of simple awareness, which of course can take many forms.  One way is to let your mind, at the point of awakening, focus on all that surrounds you, without analyzing or judging.  Simply take note of what you see and hear—the room, the light, the sounds.  Be aware of yourself and of the life that has been given to you and, at this moment of awareness, place the day in God’s keeping. (Ministry and Solitude by James C. Fenhagen)


Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: Come, Now is the Time to Worship

Come, now is the time to worship
Come, now is the time to give your heart
Come, just as you are to worship
Come, just as you are before your God
Come


One day every tongue will confess you are God
One day every knee will bow
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose you now


Closing Prayer:
O Christ, when I look at you I see that you were never in a hurry, never ran, but always had time for the pressing necessities of the day. Give me that disciplined, poised life with time always for the thing that matters. For then I would be a disciplined person. Amen. (The Way by E. Stanley Jones)

Monday, July 23, 2012

time, day 1

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
Lord,
     Help me walk slowly and deeply with you through the hours and minutes of this day—that I might find all of you that is to be found within it.  Allow me not to miss you because of hurry or busyness, but let me sense the fullness of your presence in each moment.  Slow down both my feet and my heart that I might be more present to you as I go about my normal activities.  In the Name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.  (JLB)

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 90

Scripture for the Day: Ecclesiates 3:1-11

Reading for Reflection:

        The Greek word chronos means “time” in a quantitative sense, chronological time, time that you can divide into minutes and years, time as duration.  It is the sense that we mean when we say, “What time is it?” or “How much time do you have?” or “”Time is like an ever-flowing stream,” in one of the hymns we sing.  But in the Greek there is also the word kairos, which means “time” in the qualitative sense—not the kind that a clock measures but time that cannot be measured at all, time that is characterized by what happens in it.  Kairos time is the kind that you mean when you say that “the time is ripe” to do something, “It’s time to tell the truth,” a truth-telling kind of time.  Or “I had a good time”—the time had something about it that made me glad.  The ancient poet who wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes was using time in a kairos sense when he wrote of a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to keep silence and a time to speak. (The Hungering Dark by Frederick Buechner)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: Come, Now is the Time to Worship

Come, now is the time to worship
Come, now is the time to give your heart
Come, just as you are to worship
Come, just as you are before your God
Come

One day every tongue will confess you are God
One day every knee will bow
Still the greatest treasure remains for those
Who gladly choose you now

Closing Prayer:
     O Christ, when I look at you I see that you were never in a hurry, never ran, but always had time for the pressing necessities of the day.  Give me that disciplined, poised life with time always for the thing that matters.  For then I would be a disciplined person.  Amen.  (The Way by E. Stanley Jones)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

quieting, day 7

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
Uncrowd my heart, O God,
until silence speaks
in your still small voice;
turn me from the hearing of words,
and the making of words,
and the confusion of much speaking,
to listening,
waiting,
stillness,
silence.
                                  ~Thomas Merton


Psalm for the Week: Psalm 23

Scripture for the Day: Isaiah 30:15-18

Reading for Reflection:


     Silence is nothing else but waiting for God’s Word and coming from God’s Word with a blessing.  But everybody knows that this is something that needs to be practiced and learned, in these days when talkativeness prevails.  Real silence, real stillness, really holding one’s tongue come only as the sober consequence of spiritual stillness.
     But this stillness before the Word will exert its influence upon the whole day.  If we have learned to be silent before the Word, we shall also learn to manage our silence and our speech during the day.
     The silence of the Christian is listening silence, humble stillness, that may be interrupted at any time for the sake of humility. (Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer)


Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: Be Still My Soul

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.


Closing Prayer:
O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and
rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be
our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee,
to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou
art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(The Book of Common Prayer)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

quieting, day 6

Come to Stillness:
Take a few minutes to allow your mind and heart to be still before God.

Opening Prayer:
Uncrowd my heart, O God,
until silence speaks
in your still small voice;
turn me from the hearing of words,
and the making of words,
and the confusion of much speaking,
to listening,
waiting,
stillness,
silence.
                               ~Thomas Merton

Psalm for the Week: Psalm 23

Scripture for the Day: 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

Reading for Reflection:

     A second, more positive, meaning of silence is that it protects the inner fire.  Silence guards the inner heat of religious emotions.  This inner heat is the life of the Holy Spirit within us.  Thus, silence is the discipline by which the inner fire of God is tended and kept alive. 
     Diadochus of Photiki offers us a very concrete image:  "When the door to a steambath is continually left open, the heat inside rapidly escapes through it; likewise the soul, in its desire to say many things, dissipates its remembrance of God through the door of speech, even though everything it says may be good.  Thereafter the intellect, though lacking appropriate ideas, pours out a welter of confused thoughts to anyone it meets, as it no longer has the Holy Spirit to keep its understanding free from fantasy.  Ideas of value always shun verbosity, being foreign to confusion and fantasy.  Timely silence, then, is precious, for it is nothing less than the mother of the wisest thoughts. (The Way of the Heart by Henri J.M. Nouwen)


None of us is very good at silence.  It says too much. (Telling the Truth by Frederick Buechner)

Reflection and Listening: silent and written

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Song for the Week: Be Still My Soul


Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Closing Prayer:
O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and
rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be
our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee,
to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou
art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(The Book of Common Prayer)