Rest in Silence
By Brittney Longsdorf of Lewiston, ME, USA
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. -Matthew 4:1-2 NRSV
As a college chaplain, I find that with each passing year I increasingly feel called to bring silence into students’ lives. The simplicity of sitting in silence seems as foreign to many of my undergraduates as a cassette tape. With the buzzing, dinging, chirping, and ringing of screens constantly in society’s purview, rarely do we observe the elegant pause, the invitation of silence.
I am often reminded of Elijah hiding in a cave on the mountainside, waiting for the Holy to pass by. Elijah stands firm through a rattling thunderstorm, a roaring fire, and a shattering earthquake, but it is in that deep sound of silence that God reaches out to his broken soul. And what does Elijah do? He hides. He physically pulls his mantle (a bit of his cloak) up over his face in fear.
Though it feels unfamiliar and frightening, silence creates holy vulnerability and allows us to encounter God. Silence creates a common ground to build relationship with the Sacred and to know ourselves better as beloved by the Beloved.
In the way true friends feel comfortable sitting in silence together, you may find that God is resting in the silence with you. Throughout the Bible we see God communicating intimately through silence. Sacred silence is often just as profound as God’s words. God’s silence spoke volumes while Elijah stood on that mountain waiting for reprieve.
When a young unwed mother gave birth to Jesus in a manger, God was silent. When Jesus died in agony on the cross, God was silent. These tender moments of silence with God do not mean that there is a lack of communion with the Divine. God is not absent. God is sharing in those vigil moments with a chosen discourse of meaningful, intimate silence. God is quieting our souls to offer deeper companionship on the journey.
God’s silence is an invitation-a deepening-a ripening of one’s own intimate relationship with the Divine. In this season of Lent, make time for quiet and rest in silence with the Sacred.
God, may my deep hope align with your deep vision. Release in me anything that keeps me from freely following your Spirit. Amen.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Breathe deeply as you enter a time of silence. Become gently attentive to what may be restricting you from faithfully responding to the divine invitation in your life. Are there priorities, attachments, tasks, or motivations competing for your response? What does freedom for God look or feel like in you this day?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.