For the last couple years we’ve taken one Sunday to worship in near total silence. Aren’t we supposed to erupt in praise to our Savior? Don’t the Psalms remind us to celebrate our Lord in song, with instruments, and loudly?
Yes and yes!
So why would we want silence?
51 out of 52 Sundays we worship the Lord with many different kinds of sounds. Musical instruments, voices in song, the spoken word. We love to get loud!
But on this one Sunday, we worship in silence. In our noisy culture, silence is hard to come by. As I was typing this, it struck me that my iTunes wasn’t playing music. I had paused it while making a phone call a few minutes ago, and forgot to turn it back on. Something didn’t feel right! It was too quiet. I needed music. So I hit the play button, and the tunes are back.
Notice something wrong with that? Do I really need music? Music is probably not the issue. Music is an amazing, wonderful thing on so many levels. What felt amiss was not the lack of music, but instead the quietness, the lack of background noise. When I’m driving in the car I don’t feel right if I’m not listening to something on the stereo. What is missing? Have we become so accustomed to noise in our lives that we have become emotionally dependent on it? Is it possible that this noise may be filtering out the important elements of silence?
Consider the following:
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” (Psalm 62:5)
“But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)
“Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.” (Psalm 4:4)
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)
“[Elijah] went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him… a gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:9, 12)
“Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, [Jesus] said to [his disciples], ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” (Mark 6:31-32)
When we give ourselves to silence, we listen for the voice of God. Our world is so noisy, his is a voice we rarely hear. So on Silent Sunday, we enter into the silence, we do battle with the unease our bodies feel as they crave noise, and we restrain ourselves that we might hear the Lord.
Here’s a great article
with a lot more info about the importance of silence and solitude. Dallas Willard says “we should approach the practice of silence in a prayerful, experimental attitude, confident that we shall be led into its right use for us. It is a powerful and essential discipline. Only silence will allow us life-transforming concentration upon God. It allows us to hear the gentle God whose only Son “shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice above the street noise” (Matthew 12:19).” (The Spirit of the Disciplines
This year Silent Sunday will be different from previous years. As with previous years it will not be 100% silent, but will include a few calm, audible elements. Will you join us at Faith Church on 9:30 am for Silent Sunday?
Those of you who have experienced a previous Silent Sunday, perhaps you’ll leave a comment about how it has been meaningful to you. What advice do you have to share about how to push aside distraction and enter the silence to hear from the Lord?