Silent Sunday

Equinox as a Prayer Pause

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This Sunday is the autumn equinox in the southern hemisphere, and in the Celtic spiritual tradition, this is an opportunity to embrace the moment of pause between Summer and Winter. So our theme for this Silent Sunday is the invitation to pause from our usual activities and to come to rest in this equanimity, in the quiet gap between the seasons.

Opening music:

Could IKim McMechan
00:00 / 03:25

Lyrics:

Could I just sit here awhile;
Know that there's nothing that I need to say
Safe in the knowledge that You know my ways
Love me completely, no need to hide a thing

Could I just stay here awhile;
Letting You melt away all of my fears
I feel Your comfort when You are so near
I'll hide myself in this shelter You've made for me

Could I, Could I

Could I just kneel here awhile
Doing what I was created to do
Bowing in reverence I long to adore You
Willingly giving all that I can surrender

Could I just rest here a while
Letting you whisper my burdens away
In all of my journeys there's no other place
Where I find refuge strength for my weary heart
Could I

Could I just sit here awhile;
Know that there's nothing that I need to say
Safe in the knowledge that You know my ways
Love me completely, no need to hide a thing

Guided lead-in to a time of quiet prayer

Guided prayerGuided Prayer
00:00 / 10:33
Guided Prayer
00:00 / 15:02

Listen to the following music as an ending to the time of prayer:

Enter the rest of GodBrian Doerksen
00:00 / 04:35

Lyrics:

Are you tired
Worn out and empty
Is your soul
Weary
Have you tried
Releasing your burdens
Do you feel the weight
Of worry

I am the rest you need
I am the prince of Peace
Enter the rest of God

Come to me
Burdens will fly away
Walk with me
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace

Come to me
Burdens will fly away
Walk with me
Learn the unforced rhythms
Live the unforced rhythms of grace

Reading: Matthew 11:28-30 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV version)

 

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Message version)

In the Celtic tradition the Wild Goose was the name given to the Holy Spirit, and this sheds a beautiful new light on Mary Oliver's poem, Wild Geese. You can listen to Mary Oliver reading this poem herself in the sound file below:


Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting — 

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.


Nature walk (10 minutes)

Take a walk in nature, and listen to the gentle breeze of the Spirit. Let the world offer itself to your imagination, as you listen to the rhythmic life of nature around you in this time of pause between summer and winter. Allow nature to announce to each of us our place in the family of things.

Ending Prayer:

The rhythm of life is yours, Creator Beloved,
the changing of the seasons,
the freshness of the morning after the stillness of night,
youth's energy and age's measured pace.
For daylight that follows the hours of darkness,
for the time of awakening to the day, and the time of letting go
for the overlapping of silence and sound,

the seen and the unseen,
heaven and earth,
body and spirit,
rest and dying and new life –
all part of your rhythm, O God, thanks be to you.

Amen.


(Adapted from a prayer by John Philip Newell)

Ending music:

Thanks to Thee O GodJohn Michael Talbot
00:00 / 04:46

Lyrics:

Thanks to Thee, O God
That I have risen today
To the rising of this life

It is like Thee
To the rising of Thy glory
O God of every gift
And the glory of my soul


O great God
Aid Thou my soul
With the aiding of Thine own
And Thy mercy


Even as I clothe
My body with wool
Cover Thou my soul
With the shadow of Your wing


Thanks to Thee, O God
That I have risen today
To the rising of this life


And as the mist
Scatters on the crest
Of the hills may each haze
Clear from my soul


Thanks to Thee, O God
That I have risen today
To the rising of this life

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Sharon's book that was previously called "Contemplative Living" has been republished by AnamChara Books under the title "Deeper: Finding the Depth Dimension Beneath the Surface of Life". The Kindle version is available from Amazon, and the hard copy version can be ordered from loot.co.za or from your local bookshop through Ingram Distribution.