I recently stumbled on an article that was published some time ago by the Harvard Review. The title, The Busier You are the More You Need Quiet Time, sums up the article, .
The authors seem to think they have found some new truth that no one else has realized: We need quiet time. Interestingly enough, it is new, at least to the culture we live in today. These authors have “discovered” something that Christians have known for centuries. Silence is good for you.
We need silence in our busy lives. We live in a culture where there is pressure to do more and be more. This means we are always busy and we tend to have less time for ourselves, less time to be still, and less time to just be.
Some of us find the idea of silence hard to fathom. We think that there would be no way for us to be able to spend some time alone and be silent, even if we wanted to be silent. The struggles of life make it hard to think that there would be time in our busy schedules to even pencil in silence for 10 minutes.
Others of us, think that carving out time to be silent would be a dream. We know we are tired and know that we need something to energize us. But we don’t know what exactly would help our tired bodies and souls.
Silence offers a retreat from too much artificial sound. Traffic and machinery noise marks our culture and often is oppressive not only for our physical and emotional health but for our spirits as well. The incessant chatter of advertising hype and program sounds on radio and television add to the static. Music, which can soothe the soul , unfortunately, is often distorted into a noisy and manipulative marketing tool. In a world overstuffed with noise, persuasive speech, even sermons and prayers, can bounce back from our ears like repetitive advertisements–becoming clanging cymbals, signifying nothing.
One way to practice silence (and solitude) is to be quiet in a quiet place for some time. Perhaps you take a walk on a nature trail or sit beside a lake or a creek. Or a quiet spot in a park or your backyard may work well. Even a secluded chair inside your house may work — as long as all your communication and media devices are turned off! It can start off small, with a few minutes, and then gradually get longer and you learn just be still in the moment.
The point of our time in silence is to do nothing. The point of our time in silence is not to make anything happen.
In silence we’re learning to stop doing, stop producing, stop pleasing people, stop entertaining ourselves, stop obsessing — stop doing anything except to simply be our naked self before God and be found by God.
Travis Segar – Pastoral Intern
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