Saturday, October 20, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Can I Stop Talking?
Earlier this fall, I preached two sermons on finding God in times of silence and in times of solitude. You can see the sermons at my sermon blog:
The two sermons were preached as part of a series on the Christian Disciplines - where I attempted to answer the question, "Most of us come to church so that we can know God better. What can I do to know God better?"
I even put it in practice by visiting our local zoo. Rather than trying to see every exhibit, during my five hours at the zoo, I stopped at only four exhibits:
- The Alligators
- The Meerkats
- The Tigers
- The Polar Bears
And I had lunch. It was designed to be a relaxing time, a time of reflection and retreating. It was good.
One of the other ways that I relax is reading. I like light mystery. For example, I have been reading the books by Lee Goldberg based on the Diagnosis Murder and Monk TV series. Each of these include a bit of comedy and a bit of mystery making them fun to read.
Another series I stumbled on a couple of years ago after watching a Made-For-TV movie on the Hallmark Channel is written by a female author writing under the pseudonym of Lee Harris. The series tells the story of a former Catholic nun who was raised in a convent and naturally joined the teaching staff of its college. At the age of 30, Christine Bennett found herself responsible for the care of a mentally challenged nephew and the recipient of a house along the Long Island Sound. During the course of the seventeen books, she is married, has a child, and solves a series of murders that seem to be dropped in her lap. Written in the first person, they have been fun to read and follow her through the early years of marriage, motherhood, and murder.
I am currently reading the final book in the series. The author told me in a personal e-mail that the publisher was choosing to leave the genre and would not be publishing more books. Though she has another series with another publisher, her hands are tied when it comes to the Christine Bennett Mystery series. She describes the other series as being "darker and harder" - something that I do not find inviting. After finishing The Cinco De Mayo Murder I will have read all the Christine Bennett Mystery books that have been published.
So what does The Cinco De Mayo Murder have to do with finding God in silence and solitude. The question is answered on page 158 of the book. Christine is on the way to visit a college professor who knew her latest victim and that probably had some vital information in finding some resolution to the case. She is moving through the corridors and climbing the stairs of the college classroom building. As she makes her way to the professor's office, she is passed by "an occasional young person" who scoots by with "a cell phone at his ear." At that point the author, writing in the first person, comments, "We have become a society that cannot stop talking."
I was reminded of my words of a few weeks earlier. Can we, can I, slow down enough that I can hear God speaking? Or do I have so much to say that I will no longer listen to God? May I never be so noisy, that I will not or cannot listen to God. Let me always find times of silence, let me always find times of silence or solitude, either intentionally or not, that God can use to speak to me. May the same be true for you.
Yours because His,