IS IT POSSIBLE to encounter “the silent music of God’s praise” in company, and / or on a regular basis? Well, the evidence seems to be that an ever increasing number of people in Bramhall are finding it to be so. Month after month people assemble for Meditation, arriving in silence, meditating in silence, and departing in silence – and the steady flow of poetry, prayer, inspired conversation and other forms of reflection that come my-very- privileged-way after each gathering are truly heartening.
This evening I recalled a wise priest I held very, very dear in the earliest years of my own priestly ministry. He’d lost his faith, once, he told me. A visit to the bishop to offer his resignation became the turning point of his life. The gently compassionate and non-judgmental stillness in the bishop, who spoke barely a word, facilitated a converting realisation:
I’ve been much too fond of the sound of my own voice!
With great excitement my friend returned to his parish, newly determined, encouraged by his own pastor, the bishop, to seek God in silence. He found God there – and went on much later to lead me and countless others to the same place. Preachers and pastors spend a lot of time talking and strategising – “it goes with the turf”, we tell each other. But the words we speak – and the faith we so rely on – are equally the better informed when we’ve become as fond of the sound of silence as we are of our own voices. And I’m looking at a mirror 😉
Thank you. Thank you to my quiet fellow pilgrims.