A Time To Be Silent!

silence

It seems that God Father, Son and Spirit is leading me into a period of silence and a longing for more of it. Today, as I was compelled to go into our basement to look for something, I was relieved and awestruck by the silence there! “Now that’s what I’m talking about!” I said to myself. I made the right decision to just stay down there for awhile and enjoy the silence, prayer, and even meditation that just come natural in that quiet environment.

Also today, a message landed in my inbox from a friend that made me want to scree… I mean shut up! The message I heard was from a pastor in my local area screaming (and sweating fiercely!) about the same ol, same ol “Good News” of…”G-O-D” (not Father, Son and Spirit!), sin, homosexuality, politics. It, in fact, DID make me want to scream until I realized that screaming and noise is much of the problem these days, and was certainly this preachers problem (as I have practiced and done myself in the past, straining my vocal cords also! Yikes! Ha!).

Everybody’s screaming and talking, and no one seems to know how to be silent anymore! Let’s face it, with the buzz, vibration and multiple sounds coming from our cell phones, to the tons of messages screaming into our in-boxes everywhere, to the unceasing blare of the multitude of shows coming from our televisions, “Would somebody please shut up?!” might possibly be the most welcome scream of our times (but NOT if everyone was doing it, of course! Hahaha)

In the past couple of weeks, in two different very real conversations, I heard people tell me that they feel like they live in a time where “no one listens to me”. “People just seem caught up in their own voices and interests.” hmmmm…

There IS too much screaming and noise going on in our times, in my opinion. And I mean in the Church, too! It’s so loud it’s deafening, and people not only can’t hear our Good News, they don’t want to – their ears hurt! “Aaaaaghhhh…somebody please shut up (and just love me!)” Ha! I am no longer the type to get stuck in either/or thinking on the issues of life, let alone that I am a proclaiming preacher – YIKES! – and yet I still can’t help but, due to my reflection time in the basement today, remember and agree with a quote I read this past year from an article by Daniel Walters entitled, “A Church For Others”. In it he is quoting Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the late theologian, Christian martyr, and youth minister of Nazi Germany times, on various issues facing the Church, including a time for silence Dietrich foresaw about the Church. Here is the quote:

“Since the church had worn the world out with its words of self-justification, Bonhoeffer foresaw a period of silence, where the ministry of the church would be limited to “prayer and righteous action.” Today the church must confess its faith through deeds. When these deeds have become significant enough for the world to notice without Christians shouting for recognition, “…then the world itself will long to confess the Word.” The church, therefore, is called to practice a “discipline of modesty in claims and humility in action” to recover the balance of word, prayer, and action. The church must be like Christ, who stood before his accusers silently (Matt 27:12) and did not open his mouth (Is 53:7), but he answered them with prayers of forgiveness (Luke 23:34) and selfless deeds of love (John 15:13).”

More seriously than ever I think the Church IS limited because of the current noise, including and especially religious noise (versus the Gospel!) I am seriously wondering if we might not be the “period of silence” generation, and this might be the way Jesus creatively speaks in our time. After all, we have scriptural guidance from the Father, Son and Spirit for living in such a way of silence that others are compelled to ASK us about our life, where we THEN most definitely should be ready to speak and give a reason for our hope, COURTEOUSLY:

1 Peter 3:13-18 “If with heart and soul you’re doing good, do you think you can be stopped? Even if you suffer for it, you’re still better off. Don’t give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.” – The Message

What do you think and how are you wrestling with all of this in OUR times?

 

*Photo courtesy of Stephan Brauchli at http://stephanopolis.500px.com/

6 comments so far

  1. Jeffen on

    I think of Brother Lawrence, and while he didn’t take an oath of silence (that I’m aware of), his writing eludes to having his most intense ‘spiritual experiences’, his deepest awareness of communion with God during times of silence. Levitation anyone?

    • tjbrassell on

      Thanks for the heads up about Brother Lawrence, Jeff! No question Father seems to love speaking in a still, small voice. My emphasis in this post is primarily on a time for silent evangelism, so expect to hear me keep preaching that at ya…lol! 🙂

      Kidding in MUCH Love!

      Timothy

  2. Lisa Bendele on

    YES YES YES! As I have gotten older, I too have found that silence is truly golden. Welcome to middle age, Timothy! HA ha! One day I just simply got tired of hearing the noise from the radio. And the tv. And the darn computer, even when turned off, seems to yell at me. While I was trying to pray doing my regular work around the house I became so distracted by the radio. After turning it off, it hit me. (Not the radio) This is why our forefathers were so close to God. They were not distracted by noise. They had quiet, and were able to spend more time with God in prayer, bible study, and church. How we are so easily misdirected and distracted from the relationship with our Father in Heaven,which is the most important of things in our lives, whether we realize it or not, by media in all forms, and by the feelings and words of others, is mind boggling. Turning off the noise and tuning into God truly is the peak of our lives in our daily living. My mother was the prime example of 1 Peter 3:13-18. She almost always was that way in speaking with people, and to us her children. Unless she really got riled up. Then it was duck and run, figuratively. But it was justified, and only then. I, unfortunately, still have a lot of growing up to do in that regard. It is only through experiance that we learn, and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I have found, that if we ask He will provide. So I ask, a lot. Yes, I have had the experiance of needing to practice silence of which you speak here. And it works. As a human being for me, to practice prayer , love, and silence as Jesus did with His enemies,difficult at even the best of times. I agree with you on all of your points, as you have hit upon what I have been realizing for awhile. Thank you for using scripture to get the point across. Just knew there was something about that somewhere.

    • tjbrassell on

      Amen Lisa! I have often thought the same about prior generations not being overwhelmed with sound like our modern day and, perhaps, getting in a little more of the relational things with God Father Son and Spirit as we might find more challenging. Appreciate learning more about our mom Reed whom I loved and respected. I always though of her as a quiet voice, but you are reshaping my opinion some…hahaha…of course, I KNOW she was human! 🙂

      Yes, I am especially speaking in terms of silent evangelism as a balance and corrective in our present times due to all the verbal noise, including and especially from the Church.

      Thanks for participating on this post!

      Love & Every Blessing,

      Timothy

  3. Carrie Smith on

    Imagine the culture around us if the church stopped arguing and defending. Imagine if the church simply loved quietly and boldly. Others would begin to ask why and wonder at our motives. Then the conversations we all want to have in sharing the gospel would be open to us instead of us forcing them on those who “need” us to tell them about it. What a wonderful ideal – something I will work towards as I listen more and speak less, especially as a pastor. Thanks for sharing Tim. 🙂

    • tjbrassell on

      Carrie,

      As usual, in a few sentences and one paragraph, you captured the very heart, soul, nouns and verbs of what I was seeking to communicate! Ha! You’re awesome pastor! In my language, again, “That’s what I’m talkin’ bout!” 🙂

      Peace, Love and Every Blessing,

      Timothy


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