Silent Sunday Service:
Waiting in Silence
Candle of hope.jpg

Our theme for this silent Sunday is an invitation to wait in silence, in the fertile emptiness of quiet presence in God. I know that with online resources, it's tempting to skip the quiet parts and just grab onto the nuggets or "take-aways" - I do that myself too often :)

But this week I encourage you to set aside the time to pray through this service all the way, allowing yourself to surrender to the sacred waiting in the times of silence, to join us in creating a space of receptivity and surrender into which the Spirit may bring a new fertility to our lives.

The following is a guided prayer to lead you into stillness, which ends in a short piece of music by Jeremy Riddle, called "Be still and know":

Guided prayer - Be still and know
00:00 / 13:50

Listen or sing along to the following chant as a lead into the silence:

Be still before the LordSeattle Contemplative Community
00:00 / 02:59

Song lyrics:

 

Be still before the Lord

And wait patiently for Him 

Be still before the Lord

And wait patiently for Him 

Alternative lyrics:

Be still before the Lord

And wait in quiet surrender, 

Be still before the Lord

And wait in quiet surrender.

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).

Ten minute silence timerSilence
00:00 / 10:25
Twenty minute meditationSilence
00:00 / 20:28

Read the following passages through twice or three times, and listen for any word or phrase that seems to be inviting you to linger with it.

Psalm 130:1-8 extracts

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;

Lord, hear my voice.

Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. …

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,

and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord

more than sentinels wait for the morning,

more than sentinels wait for the morning.

Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love

and with Yahweh is full redemption.

 

Psalm 27:13-14:

Hear my voice when I call, Lord;

be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"

Your face, Lord, I will seek. I remain confident of this:

I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Spend some time in quiet reflection on this passage (you can use the 10 minute timer).

Ten minute silence timerSilence
00:00 / 10:25

Listen to the following instrumental piece of music as you reflect on the scripture passages or the quotes below:

HomeSecret Garden
00:00 / 03:26

Exercise: The quiet fertility of nature

Spend a while walking in nature, or look outside of your window, and find something that draws your attention, reminding you of the quiet fertility of nature. Spend some time gazing at this scene, allowing yourself to become present and attentive. Open your heart to hear what the Spirit might be saying to you through this.

After some time of looking and listening, respond to God in prayer in your own words.

For further reflection:

Below are some of the quotes from the talk, and some additional quotes, for you to reflect on further:

Sue Monk Kidd:

"The fullness of one's soul evolves slowly. We're asked to go within to gestate the newness God is trying to form; we're asked to collaborate with grace. … waiting provides the time and space necessary for grace to happen. Spirit needs a container to pour itself into. Grace needs an arena in which to incarnate. Waiting can be such a place, if we allow it."

She goes on to write:

"Crisis, change, all the myriad upheavals that blister the spirit and leave us groping - they aren't voices simply of pain but also of creativity. And if we would only listen, we might hear such times beckoning us to a season of waiting, to the place of fertile emptiness. ... In the stayed-ness of waiting we find everything we need in order to grow. Suspended upside-down in the heart of the question, we touch the sacred spaces of real becoming."

 

In his book Into the Silent Land Martin Laird wrote:

"Silence lays bare this wound that seems to be with us for life and brings us face to face, "eye to eye" with what feels like nothing at all. In this spaciousness we wash in "the lovers' well" and discover that what may strike the senses as nothing at all, is paradoxically an overflowing fullness, an emptiness ever thronging. Silence alone will lead us to this discovery."

 

Thomas Merton:

"The true contemplative is not one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but is one who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect to anticipate the words that will transform his darkness into light. He does not even anticipate a special kind of transformation. He does not demand light instead of darkness. He waits on the Word of God in silence, and, when he is “answered,” it is not so much by a word that bursts into his silence. It is by his silence itself, suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God."

Adyashanti:

"The letting go into eternity may require courage, but even more it requires the deepest relaxation—the relaxation of a lover relaxing into the arms of her beloved. In this sense it is an act of love. Simply be still; that is quite enough. When the time is right it will happen, you can be assured of this.”

 

James Finley:

A green apple cannot ripen in one night by tightening all its muscles, squinting its eyes and tightening its jaw in order to find itself the next morning miraculously large, red, ripe and juicy beside its small green counterparts. Like the birth of a baby or the opening of a rose, the birth of the true self takes place in God's time. We must wait for God, we must be awake; we must trust His hidden action within us.”

 

Marian Scheele:

"When the soul is occupied with looking away from present trials into the face of Christ, and making this a regular and passionate occupation, this soul will become more tranquil and still and therefore more able to reflect the Being it adores. This reflected glory will enable us to love our neighbor as ourselves. The only effort required is the giving up of all effort."

 

St. Teresa of Avila: 

Those who are able to practice the prayer of recollection will receive the water of the fountain”. ... “It is called recollection because the soul collects together all the faculties and enters within itself to be with its God. It’s Divine Master comes more speedily to teach it, and grant it the Prayer of Quiet."

 

Ending prayer: 

Lamentations 3:21-26

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,

for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, "The Lord is my inheritance; therefore I will wait for him."

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,

to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly

for the salvation of the Lord.

Our response:

Leaving behind us what has passed,

And remaining here, in trust, in silent surrender to Your Presence

  in the fertile emptiness,

We wait for You, Lord,

For your goodness to be revealed in our lives,

For the light of Christ to be birthed in our hearts,

And for your faithfulness to be revealed in our land,

Amen.

To conclude this time of prayer, listen to the following song by Matt Redman:

In the waitingMatt Redman
00:00 / 04:11

Lyrics - In the waiting

I cultivate a quiet place
Within this life of mine
I come to wait before the One
Who knows my heart's desire
In the stillness I have come
To wait before You God

And I find You in the waiting
And I find You in the waiting
You remind me in the stillness
To know You are God

You heard my cry so long before

I ever spoke a word

You knew my name so long before

The heavens touched the earth

In the stillness I have come

To wait before You God

And I find You in the waiting
And I find You in the waiting
You remind me in the stillness
To know You are God

 

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