Saturday, December 05, 2009

Silence and Presence

“The less form in religion the better, since God is a Spirit; … the more silent, the more suitable to the language of a Spirit.” That’s what William Penn said over 300 years ago, urging Christians to embrace silence as a way to encounter God. Taking time to think about using silence as a religious practice extends Penn’s invitation to us today. That’s because Penn wasn’t talking not about stillness, as such, but rather about encountering God in a living and vital holy hush. This spiritual silence encourages us as we travel along our journey to a quiet inner place where God teaches us. It is a place where we can come “to receive freely from Him,” as George Fox said.

This deep silence of the soul can be our Eucharist. Rufus Jones said of sacramental silence that, “it may be an intensified pause, a vitalized hush, a creative quiet, an actual moment of mutual and reciprocal correspondence with God. The actual meeting of man with God and God with man is the very crown and culmination of what we can do with our human life here on earth.”

Holy silence invites us to an immediate personal encounter with God. Quaker silence is communion with God. As one group of Friends wrote, “In silence, without rite or symbol, we have known the Spirit of Christ so convincingly present … [that] this is our Eucharist and our Communion.”

That is the sort of communion my soul craves.

-- Brent


Kathleen said...

Thank you for this post today. I happen to have spent much time today with some Friends of New England Yearly Meeting in deeply quiet, rich, extended worship. I was blessed to be in this space you speak of!

Amesbury (MA) MM

Anonymous said...

Amen to what you wrote my friend. I love the fact that as a Quaker I can be commune with God without the need for clergy or fancy rites.
As they say, silence is the language of God & the angels. So I sit in silence waiting for that "still small voice."

haven said...

Thank you Friend.
Your post speaks to God's availability, the immediacy and the constancy of the relationship we have with God, and the sacredness of that Holy Silence.

Diane said...

Very nice post.

The second step is to have faith in what we "hear" God saying to us in the silence.

BloomingGirl36 said...

Silence found in Love, Love given trough silence.