I’M ALMOST OVERWHELMED with relief when I bring to mind and celebrate the large and ever growing number of people here who sense a call to a deeper, quieter, sometimes silent waiting upon God – even in the midst of busy working and parish life, even at the heart of a midweek Eucharist. Coughing and shuffling and sputtering are beginning, in a new way, I think, to give way to mutual respect for the silent prayer of others. Holy Spirit’s Peace descends when we ask her to, and we recognise Jesus’ praying and staying with us. We know that Jesus apparently liked a party sometimes. But we know that he called his disciples to silent waiting too. And it is an especial joy that this is proving to be the case amongst younger and older, women and men and children alike.
There’s a growing discernment about the ungodly divisions that exist in our own church – before we even begin to consider those that exist elsewhere, and an equally growing willingness to bring those divisions, and an entire panoply of blessings too, to bring indeed the whole of our lives, the whole of our world, into “the quiet place”, understanding that God is very unlikely to fill the space we create with English conversation – mini-sermons telling us all how we should shape our ideas up – and much more likely to “breathe loving Spirit into every troubled breast.” And the quiet conversations that are the fruit of such silent waiting go on to engender in our shared parochial life a wider reach of care and concern. Further, we’re moving more and more into a “can do” culture. Works of grace are appearing more spontaneously and more frequently. A team of folk appeared as though out of mist to prepare for our worship this coming Sunday. Yes. A relief. God in the sound of silence begets Love.