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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 62:5–12

For God alone my soul waits in silence,
   for my hope is from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
   my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my deliverance and my honor;
   my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
   pour out your heart before him;
   God is a refuge for us.

Those of low estate are but a breath,
    those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
   they are together lighter than a breath.
Put no confidence in extortion,
   and set no vain hopes on robbery;
   if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.

Once God has spoken;
   twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
   and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord.
For you repay to all
   according to their work. (NRSV)

Reflection
Silence.

It is in silence that I most often feel I draw close to God.

But it’s not the silence of the world around me I mean. I have been in the middle of the greatest crowds and found this peace, I have been on the busiest streets and been swept into it. It’s the silence inside me, a silence that feels as if it touches the silence of the deep sea and the stars, of forest and caves and fields.

It’s too easy to respond to the noise of the world with my own, that desire to defend, to argue, to convince. Even when I don’t give voice to this noise—or sometimes especially so—it rages on in my head, pulling up walls and limiting my sight. I know if I were to give voice in haste I might be met with more noise in return, and so on over and over, a growing cyclone of words and walls. I see this in our public discourse; I hear it on the edges of the online communities I inhabit; I experience it in my life, most often with those dearest to me.

But I believe we cannot hear each other—or ourselves—until we still ourselves. And not just our speech but our reactions. Only then can we really hear, take in, begin to see the other in front of us and the ways God shows themself through the other. Only then can we build something.

But coming to that silence is one of the hardest things to do. It takes time. It takes commitment. And sometimes it takes pouring out speech to God until there is nothing left to say.

But the resulting silence is treasure beyond all counting.

Prayer
God, thank you for the gifts of silence and speech, of being together and being apart, and for the discernment to know when each are needed. May we all look for you in all that we do. Amen.

Written by Anne Ellis, Program Manager for Congregational Life


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