...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Silence- Spiritual Detox

Silence is the child of wonder 
Ecclesiastes counsels that there's a time and place for everything... a time for "keeping silent and a time for speaking." Ecc. 3:7 CEB. One of the ways wonder is expressed is silence, because what are the words that can really describe wonder? We're led to silence, not more words. Silence is God's oft forgotten language.

True worship of God can happen without any words at all. Worship and prayer in the pagan world was known for pouring out the "empty words" Jesus mentions in Matt. 6:7. The mark of idolatry, then and now, is noise and wordiness, in contrast to our silence before God:
Doom to the one saying to the tree, “Wake up!”
        or “Get up” to the silent stone.
Does it teach?
Look, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
        but there is no breath within it. 
 But the Lord is in his holy temple.
 Let all the earth be silent before him.
 -Habakkuk 2: 18-20 CEB. 

If we keep quiet and listen, we might be able to hear what God is speaking to us, what our life is telling us. How else will we ever hear the whispers of the Holy One? Seeing anew with the eyes of wonder and marvel, our truest worship might be in the quiet of a new day, a dark night, or a sunset at Angel Fire (see photo). Along with quiet's theme song for Advent/Christmas, "Silent Night," recall the brilliance of the third verse of O Little Town: 
How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

Using the tonic of silence, if only for a few minutes at a time, may be like a spiritual detox at first. It's here for the taking, but you have to choose it. The peace of Christ be with you.

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

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