Thursday, March 28, 2019
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
During the season of Lent, we, at St. Helen’s, strive for Holy Quiet. This entails speaking quietly before and after each service, not chatting during the liturgy and observing the Quiet Peace, as opposed to the often rather boisterous sharing evident at other times. We are not very good at maintaining that quiet!
It has been said that God’s first language is silence. We might reflect on that in several ways. If silence is of such value to God why does so much of creation make noise! Sometimes ‘the silence of God’ describes being in a spiritual desert, or experiencing the ‘dark night of the soul’ to use the expression attributed to the mystic St. John of the Cross (see also Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, When God is Silent). But, consciously choosing silence can also lead to a deeper awareness of the Presence of the Holy One.
Centering prayer, a method of contemplative prayer, is a discipline designed to open ourselves to that Presence. It is about ‘being in communion’. In Contemplative Prayer, Thomas Merton writes ““Monastic prayer begins not so much with “considerations” as with a “return to the heart,” finding one’s deepest center, awakening the profound depths of our being”.
To begin: Find a quiet corner where you will not be disturbed. Sit down and relax and simply be aware of your breathing. Make it your intention to just ‘be’ with God. Some people choose a sacred word or words to help them return to the intention when thoughts wander, as they will; Jesus, or Maranatha(Come, Lord Jesus) for example or simply ‘peace’ or ‘light’.
Try it for 5 minutes!
Aside: Did you know that spruce tips are edible? In early spring, as the spruce trees send forth tender new branches, nip off a few of the light green tips. Traditionally dried and used for tea, they are high in vitamin “C” and add a ‘spruce’ flavor to salads and quiches.