Silent Sunday Service:
Our theme for this silent Sunday is the perfect peace described in Isaiah 26:3 "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you." This does not describe a feeling of peace that comes and goes, but is a deep and profound peace that is independent of circumstances, that "does not depend on the conditions of peace" to quote James Finley.
We will look at this theme in two parts:
Part 1: Intrapersonal peace (peace within ourselves)
Part 2: Interpersonal peace (peace with others)
I invite you to begin this quiet morning by listening to the following song, where the singer-song writer Alana Levandoski has put these words of James Finley's to music:
Listen or sing along to the following chant as a lead into the silence:
Spend some time in silent prayer now (you can choose between a 10 minute timer and a 20 minute timer below, which each have a gong at the beginning and three gongs at the end).
Below I have provided the NIV version of Isaiah 26:3,4 as well as a paraphrase developed from the terms used in the Hebrew text. Read these through twice or three times, and listen for any word or phrase that seems to be inviting you to linger with it.
Isaiah 26:3,4 (NIV)
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord ,
the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
Isaiah 26:3,4 (Paraphrase)
You will establish a profound, unshakable peace and well being – Shalom Shalom –
within those whose minds are stabilised in You,
who entrust and establish themselves, utterly and completely, on You.
Trust in Yahweh forever, for the Eternal One,
the I Am ever-present One, is your everlasting Rock.
Spend some time in quiet reflection on this passage (you can use the 10 minute timer).
Listen to the following song as a prayer, Dona Nobis Pacem, which means "Grant us peace":
I invite you to listen to the following piece of music while you read Gandhi's Prayer for Peace below, and reflect on the questions that follow.
GANDHI’S PRAYER FOR PEACE
I offer you peace
I offer you love
I offer you friendship
I see your beauty
I hear your need
I feel your feelings
My wisdom flows from the highest Source
I salute that Source in you
Let us work together
For unity and peace.
Questions for reflection:
What helps you to feel grounded and connected to God's perfect peace and well-being, Shalom Shalom?
Spend some time prayerfully reflecting on areas in your own life where you have recognised divisions with others, and where the Spirit may be inviting you to open to a new sense of the peace of Christ.
How can you open the possibility of peace to others who you interact with, especially in contexts where attitudes of division and aggression are expressed?
What shifts in attitude can you personally explore to open yourself to be a channel of God's peace into this divided world?
Spend some time praying, in whatever way is meaningful for you, for peace in our world — both as an inner awakening and as a relational opening between people of different religions, races, genders, sexual orientations, political affiliations and any other dividing walls.
Walking in peace:
Whenever you walk in the next few days or weeks, I encourage you to walk with the attitude of a peace walk, as describe by Thich Nhat Hanh in the following poem that he wrote:
Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.
Then we learn
that there is no peace walk;
that peace is the walk;
that there is no happiness walk;
that happiness is the walk.
We walk for ourselves.
We walk for everyone
always hand in hand.
Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.
Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.
Listen to the following version of the Prayer of St Francis as an ending prayer: