A time to be quiet

Hello everyone!  This morning our worship was led by one of
our supernumerary ministers Rev David Bucktrout.  He always has a lovely manner as he leads
worship.  The children’s address was
about a competition in America, which a minister Mr Marshall had earlier
described; it was an art competition for a painting on the theme of peace.  David described where the different pictures
were hung in the exhibition and gave a detailed description of each one; a
beautiful landscape, a pastoral scene, a picturesque snow scene and a cottage
interior with two armchairs all showed beautiful peaceful scenes, although none
of those was chosen as the winner.  The
painting in the centre of the room had first prize; it showed a storm laden
sky, trees bent against the storm, rain lashing down with as its centre piece a
tree with a fork in its centre, where a mother bird was sitting on her nest
with her wings covering her tiny chicks peeping out of her feathers,
illustrating, of course, peace in the storm. 
All were agreed that it was the best picture.

 

The theme of his
service was silence bringing peace in the turmoil.  He talked of Elijah’s spectacular defence of
Yahweh on Mount Carmel, where alone he destroyed the prophets of Baal, but then
fled for his life.  He was exhausted,
drained and felt totally alone and vulnerable. 
He was provided with food and rest which enabled him to travel on to Mount
Sinai, where he hoped to meet God.  God
was not in the strong wind, the earthquake or the fire but he spoke in the
silence in a still small voice.  Soon
Elijah was reassured that he was not alone, as there were a further 7000
faithful followers of Yahweh with him and he was given the task of pastoral
oversight and teaching Elisha to prepare him as his successor.  He was at the end of his tether but God had
not abandoned him, but was ready to support him in his more mundane role as
leader of the faithful.  There are
spectacular moments but mostly we need to follow on faithfully practising the
presence of God in our everyday, in the midst of the turmoil and struggles of
our lives, as Brother Laurence did in a busy monastery kitchen.  One of his favourite saints of old is St
Francis, so he was amused to read the quotation from him in our Lenten Study
Course, ‘When I survey…..’ this year’s York Course written by John Pridmore, ‘Preach
the gospel at all times. Use words if you must.’   David had been tempted to do the quotation
and then sit down in silence for the normal sermon duration, but thought we
feel cheated of our sermon!! 

 

Silences are difficult
to keep without some focus to dwell on and it takes time to learn how to use a
silence properly.  I was at my Lenten
course on Wednesday and Hannah, a lay reader from St Peter’s Church, led the
group.  She described the silence at I
think evensong at Christ Church where my niece Christine’s husband Nick
Henshall is the vicar; apparently they read a meditation followed by 5 minutes
silence.  The first time Hannah
experienced the silence, it seemed endless, the second time it did not seem
quite as long and the third time it seemed almost too short.  I think that we need to learn how to be quiet
and rest in God’s presence; I do like music being on in the background, but do
drive to work in silence, which is a lovely time to rest in God’s presence,
appreciating the beauty around me whatever the weather, thanking him and
bringing him my concerns.  There is
certainly a time to be quiet and rest and I give thanks for my rest on holiday
and feel ready for my return to work tomorrow. 
This is the day that the Lord has made and I rejoice and am glad in it.

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