The Power of Silence

Silence – how do you see it? A positive thing or a negative thing? We live in a very noisy world: some of it immensely positive – the words of a loved one encouraging us, the sound of the birds singing in the trees, beautiful music lifting the heart, the words of an actor stirring our emotions, the challenge of a teacher engaging our mind.

Noise can be a wonderful thing. I doubt any of us would like to live without any sound, and those of us struggling with deteriorating hearing know how frustrating it can be when we can’t hear properly.

And yet you can have too much of a good thing! Many of us recognise that there is often too much noise in our lives; different things competing for our attention: the phone, the TV, social media, friends, children, parents.

Sometimes it can feel like everyone, and everything is speaking at the same time, and we just need to switch everything off, hide away and have some quiet. This of course can be easier said than done, especially if you have young children, a demanding family or crazy job. But perhaps that makes it all the more important?

Perhaps silence isn’t just a luxury but a necessity?

Across the centuries, Christians have discovered the power of silence, for there many would testify that we meet God. Ruth Haley Barton writes in the book Invitation to Solitude and Silence, “We are starved for quiet, to hear the sound of sheer silence that is the presence of God himself.” Now there is an invitation if ever I heard one!

Over the last few months, I have been on a bit of a journey to try and intentionally put regular times of silence into my life. Now for me, the noise isn’t just on the outside – sometimes I can switch everything off and my brain is just as noisy on the inside. That’s the real challenge, learning how to stop talking on the inside, but I am trying to keep going and persevere.

Ifiwritethissentencewithoutanyspacesbetweenthewordsitisreallyhardtoread. (If I write this sentence without any spaces between the words it is really hard to read!) I wonder if your life has space and silence in it, or does it all run together with no place to breathe. Maybe this summer you might like to join me on my adventure into silence. I have a feeling that there might just be some hidden riches we might discover that bless not just us, but those around us too.

With every blessing

Rev’d Jo Levasier
jo@burphamchurch.org.uk

Church Office: 01483 825533
www.burphamchurch.org.uk