Silent Sunday Service: 3 May
The Call of Wilderness 
Introduction and prayer
Introduction and opening prayer

Listen to the following song to lead you into the time of silence:

Oh God, You Are My God (Psalm 63)Fernando Ortega
00:00 / 02:14

Song lyrics:

 

Oh God, you are my God
Earnestly I seek you
My Soul thirsts for you,
And my flesh yearns for you,
In a dry and weary land
Where there is no water.

I remember you at night
Through the watches of the night

In the shadow of your wings
I sing because you help me
My soul clings to you
And your hand upholds me
You alone.

Let us have some time of 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 passage through twice or three times, and listen for any word or phrase that seems to be inviting you to linger with it.

Isaiah 55:1‭-‬3

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; 

  and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! 

Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.  

Why spend money on what is not bread,

  and your labor on what does not satisfy? 

Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,

  and you will delight in the richest of fare. 

 Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.

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 song, I hunger and thirst for you, by David Kauffman

I Hunger and Thirst for YouDavid Kauffman
00:00 / 04:04

Song lyrics:

 

CH:

I hunger and thirst for you, Oh Lord,

come fill my soul;

I hunger and thirst for you, Oh Lord,

come fill my soul.

 

When I’m found in your Presence, Lord,

My flesh and bones take rest,

My soul is touched with a love I trust completely.

 

I hunger and thirst for you...

 

I will bless you forever, Lord, as long as I live;

You understand, so I lift my hands,

and call upon your name.

 

I hunger and thirst for you...

 

Holding me warm under wing, I will sing for joy;

I will sing to you, yes I will cling to you,

Your love is better than life.

 

I hunger and thirst for you...

Read the following poem by Rumi through slowly, noticing what it evokes in you.

 

Jars of spring water are not enough any more.

Take us down to the river.

The Face of peace. The Sun itself.

 

No more the slippery cloudlike moon.

Give us one clear morning after another,

and the One whose work remains unfinished,

  who is our work as we diminish,

  idle, though occupied, empty, and open.

Exercise: The simple nature gaze

If you want an audio lead-in for this exercise click here, otherwise read the instructions below:

Spend a while simply gazing at something from nature: it could be the sky or a landscape scene, a plant, flower or tree, a bird or an insect. You can include your other senses in this. Try to let go of thoughts that name or analyse what you are seeing. Look, listen and feel with the kind of receptivity where you just allow what you perceive to be what it is, opening to it with gratitude. You could sit in a way where your hands and body language reflect your open receptive attitude - as the poem says "idle, though occupied, empty, and open". I find it helps to imagine my inner being as a large wide open bowl, empty, open and receptive. Spend as long as you would like in this exercise, but make it at least 5 minutes to get past the "naming, claiming" mind.

Listen to the following song, Thanks to Thee O God, by John Michael Talbot

Thanks to theeJohn Michael Talbot
00:00 / 04:46

Song 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.

Now allow yourself to bring this same open receptivity to listening to God's voice speaking tenderly to you in the following passage, and spend some time reflecting on this:

Hosea 2:14-15, 19-20

Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Suffering a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of the narrow place.

I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will know the Lord.

Ending prayer: 

Isaiah 43:18‭-‬19

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  

See, I am doing a new thing! 

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 

I am making a way in the wilderness 

and streams in the wasteland.

Our response:

Lord, may your Spirit guide our journey through the wilderness,

burning away the chaff of our lives, purifying our hearts,

that we may receive your love and compassion,

and the hidden treasure of your beautiful presence -

  waiting patiently in the heart of each moment

  for our eyes and ears to awaken,

  and our hearts to receive you afresh.

Make a way in this wilderness for your streams to flow from this wasteland

into a desperate and thirsting world.

Amen

To conclude this time of prayer, listen to the following song by Alana Levandoski:

Behold I Make All Things NewAlana Levandoski
00:00 / 03:35

Song lyrics:

 

Behold I make all things new

Behold I make all things new    

Behold I make all things new

Let there be light, let there be light.

 

God unseen is taking form,         

God unseen is taking form,  

God unseen is taking form,

Let there be life, let there be life.

 

The first and last is surging forth,           

The first and last is surging forth,           

The first and last is surging forth,           

Becoming life, becoming life.

 

Behold I make all things new

Behold I make all things new    

Behold I make all things new

Let there be light, let there be light.

You can use the following questions for further reflection.

Questions for reflection:

Constance FitzGerald wrote: “As long as we are preoccupied with filling the great caverns of our mind, heart, memory and imagination with human knowledge, entertainment, loves, memories and dreams that promise to fulfill us (but never really do for long), we are unable to feel or even imagine the vast capacity that we have within to hunger and thirst for God. Only when we become aware of the illusory and limiting character of this fullness, which happens through brokenness and facing our limitations, failure of our dreams and loss of identity, can the depths of hunger and thirst that exist in the human person, the infinite capacity for God, really be experienced.” 

  • In what ways have I been "filling the great caverns of my mind, heart, memory and imagination" in ways that don't fulfill me for long?

  • How can I respond to the call to this time of wilderness, bringing my consent to any limitations, stripping or sense of loss that I am facing?

We would appreciate any donations so that we can continue making resources like this available at no cost.
Donate here...
 
A very warm thank you to all of you who have donated so generously.
To see a list of additional resources click here...
If you are not already on our mailing list you can subscribe here...

If you are interested in ordering a copy of Sharon's book, Contemplative Living, please email Bonnie Kaplan Kaufmann who is handling deliveries:

  bonniekaplan5@gmail.com

RETREAT
CENTRE

Tel: 082 465 1514            Email: bestill@solitude.org.za

  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Google+ Icon