Daily Riches: Learning From Quaker Silence (Anyushka)

“For a number of years, the thought of attending a Quaker meeting crossed my mind from time to time … yet, I hesitated, imagining how uncomfortable I could end up being, sitting quietly for an hour in a group of quiet people. …I walked into the presence of God in a way I could never have imagined. I sat there stunned by the realisation that, in Quaker meetings, silence is worship and worship is silent. I found myself in the silence of people for whom feeling the need to worship is their common ground, who know that God is present and that there is nothing that could possibly have to be said by anyone else but him. This silence felt like the most honest and right worship I had ever experienced–no liturgy to get between me and God, no distractions, no words trying to describe a reality beyond the limits of language and imagination. …[Quakers] honour ‘that of God’ within themselves and in everyone else. …There is no ‘method’ setting out what the experience should be like for everyone. Quaker silence feels neither like silence for the sake of silence, nor like a discipline to bend the Self into. This silence is a place beyond our Selves. My whole being is in tune with God who I listen to, and with everyone who listens with me. God is here, and has calmed the storm in my mind. God is here, and creates order and clarity and peace. God becomes so spacious in this silence that I know again how small I am–and that I do not have to pretend to be anything else but small.  …I am welcome to speak, as a woman, as a lay person, as a visitor. This is a place as free of judgment or prejudice as it can get between people…. We all left our egos at the door for an hour, and I was glad to get a break from mine. …When I left after the meeting, I knew that everything I needed had been given to me. I had experienced Communion, in the most direct and uncomplicated way. This kind of silence is hard to describe and, I find, hard to forget.” Anyuska

“Listen in silence before me.” Isaiah 41:1

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Could you sit quietly for an hour?
  • Can you imagine worship with no need for human speech? …no liturgy between you and God? …no words trying to explain the inexplicable?
  • When was the last time you left church feeling that “everything you needed” was given to you?

Abba, envelop me in deep silence.

For More: Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton

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If you benefited in some way from this, please share it with others! – Bill

Daily Riches: The Neglected Cultivation of Sacred Idleness (Thomas Merton, George MacDonald)

“Our being is not to be enriched merely by activity and experience as such. Everything depends on the quality of our acts and our experiences. A multitude of badly performed actions and of experiences only half lived exhausts and depletes our being. …when our activity is habitually disordered, our malformed conscience can think of nothing better to tell us than to multiply the quantity of our acts, without perfecting their quality. And so we go from bad to worse, exhausting ourselves, empty our whole life of all content, and fall into despair. There are times, then, when in order to keep ourselves in existence at all we simply have to sit back for a while and do nothing. And for a man who has let himself be drawn completely out of himself by his activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act he can perform; and often it is quite beyond his power.” Thomas Merton

“Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected.” George MacDonald

“my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus, in Matthew 11:30

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is your life ever depleted by “disordered” activity – by a multitude of “badly performed actions?”
  • Are you ever “drawn completely out of yourself” by such excessive activity?
  • When your experience comes up short, is your response to simply “multiply the quantity” of your acts?
  • Are you able to recollect yourself by cultivating “sacred idleness?” …doing nothing at all? Can you see why this could be “the hardest and most courageous act” you could do when frenzy brings despair?

Abba, deliver me from experience only half lived. Help me do less and do it more deliberately, slowly, and fully.

For More: No Man Is An Island by Thomas Merton

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Holding Your Breath to Listen (James Emery White, C. S. Lewis, Frederick Buechner, Esther de Waal, Henri Nouwen and David Whyte)

“We don’t often speak of silence, much less solitude [but]… the power of silence and solitude has been recognized throughout the history of spiritual formation. It is the purposeful separation of ourselves from the world in order to place ourselves with God. The great advantage of the evil one is his ability to assault our senses with the material world in which we live as if to drown out the distant chords from eternity’s symphony. One can only surmise that it was for this reason that Lewis’ Screwtape announces to his nephew Wormwood that one of hell’s goals is to ‘make the whole universe a noise in the end.’ Only in silence can we move past the deafening roar of the world and hear the music of God. Here it is important to remember the difference between spiritual quietness, and the mere absence of sound that creates silence. ‘Silence is the absence of sound and quiet the stilling of sound,’ writes Frederick Buechner. ‘Quiet chooses to be silent. It holds its breath to listen.’ The Rule of St. Benedict speaks of cultivating silence in our lives, with an entire chapter devoted to its pursuit. ‘Unless I am silent I shall not hear God,’ Esther de Waal writes in her reflections on Benedict’s Rule, ‘and until I hear him I shall not come to know him.’ James Emery White

“The silence of solitude is nothing but dead silence when it does not make us alert for a new voice sounding from beyond all human chatter.” Henri Nouwen

Guard your steps as you go to the house of God
and draw near to listen
rather than to offer
the sacrifice of fools”
Ecclesiastes 5:1

“fools multiply words”
Ecclesiastes 10:14

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is your world “a universe of noise?”
  • Is your religious experience mostly about the power of words? (preaching, teaching, evangelizing, praying, singing, sharing, testifying)
  • Do you know what it is to “hold your breath and listen” to hear “a new voice sounding from beyond all human chatter?”
  • Are you making space for the practice of silence and solitude in your daily and weekly schedule?

“Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
we have refused
again an again
until now.
Until now.”
David Whyte

For More:  Serious Times by James Emery White

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious

Daily Riches: When More Knowledge, Enthusiasm and Motivation Doesn’t Work (Pete Scazzero)

“Martin Luther’s intensely disliked Jews and wrote essays against them that were resurrected and used by the Nazis. He also advised the German nobles to slaughter the rebelling peasants without mercy. Ulrich Zwingli condoned the torture and drowning of Anabaptists … because they believed in baptism by immersion. Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield were slaveholders… The great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Asuza Street (1906) in Los Angeles split terribly over race, resulting in black and white churches throughout America for decades. Many leaders of the Protestant Missionary Movement, along with a number of contemporary Evangelical leaders, failed in their marriage and family life. John Wesley, for example, couldn’t live with his wife; his marriage was … deeply troubled.

“We are quick to point out the sins of the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox churches located primarily in the Eastern part of the world (e.g. The Coptic church of Egypt, the Syrian Church, The Russian Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, The Armenian Church, the churches located in Iran, Iraq and in the Arab world.) We forget that, for the first 1054 years, there was only one church – the one, holy, catholic (i.e. universal), church. I meet many Christians who ignore this history, acting as if God jumped from the book of Acts to the Protestant Reformation. And [who think] if people are not evangelical or charismatic Protestants, then they are probably not Christian. There is much we can learn from Roman Catholics and Orthodox believers – even though they have plenty of problems and we do not agree on a number of points. Remember, a true believer is someone who has a living relationship with Jesus Christ who died and rose again for our sins, not someone who worships like we do. If we are going to slow down for loving union with Jesus and experience deep transformation, we must learn from those with a long history of learning in these areas. Key dimensions of a full-orbed, biblical spirituality are not strong in American Christianity. Disciplines such as silence, stillness, solitude, and waiting on God, for example, are almost nonexistent in our churches.” Pete Scazzero

“… the truth will set you free.” – Jesus

 Moving From Head to Heart

  • Different religious traditions emphasize different things. Are you aware of important spiritual practices not emphasized in your tradition?
  • All Christians are misguided or misinformed in some ways. Could some Christians, misinformed about some things, know something of value you don’t know about others?
  • Does your church communicate the importance of “silence, stillness, solitude, [slowing down] and waiting on God?” – things that work where more information, inspiration and motivation don’t?

Abba, teach us that promised freedom which is freedom indeed.

For More: Finding Our Way Again by Brian McLaren

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 Thanks for reading/sharing this blog!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Listen To Your Life (Joan Chittister)

“In the midst of all this indistinguishable cacophony of life, the bell tower of every Benedictine monastery rings ‘listen.’ Listen with the heart of Christ. Listen with the lover’s ear. Listen for the voice of God. Listen in your own heart for the sound of truth, the kind that comes when a piece of quality crystal is struck by a metal rod.” Joan Chittister

“The Rule [of Saint Benedict] teaches us to listen to the circumstances of our own lives. We have to begin to face what our own life patterns might be saying to us. When we are afraid, what message lurks under the fear: a horror of failure, a rejection of weakness, panic at the thought of public embarrassment, a sense of valuelessness that comes with loss of approval? When we find ourselves in the same struggles over and over again, what does that pattern say? That I always begin a thing with great enthusiasm only to abandon it before it is finished? That I am always reluctant to change, no matter how good the changes might be for me? That I keep imposing unsatisfactory relationships with people from my past on every new person I meet? That down deep I have never given myself to anything except myself? Not to my friends. Not to my work. Not to my vocation. Until I learn to listen – to the Scriptures, to those around me, to my own underlying life messages, to the wisdom of those who have already maneuvered successfully around the dangers of a life that is unmotivated and unmeaningful – I will really have nothing whatever to say about life myself. To live without listening is not to live at all; it is simply to drift in my own backwater.” Joan Chittister

“Listen as Wisdom calls out! 
Hear as understanding raises her voice! …
Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you.”
Proverbs 8:1,6

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you a listening person? Are you quiet enough? Moving at a slow enough pace?
  • Do you think of being a good listener as essential to living the life of faith? …to loving well?
  • What habits prevent you from listening well? Are you doing anything about them?

Abba, help me to hear the important things in my life I would otherwise miss.

For More: Wisdom Distilled From the Daily by Joan Chittister

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. Thanks!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: An Uninterrupted Flow of Words … Silenced by Death (Thomas Merton and Simone Weil)

“Life is not to be regarded as an uninterrupted flow of words which is finally silenced by death. Its rhythm develops in silence, comes to the surface in moments of necessary expression, returns to deeper silence, culminates in a final declaration, then ascends quietly into the silence of Heaven which resounds with unending praise.

“Silence has many dimensions. It can be a regression and an escape, a loss of self, or it can be presence, awareness, unification, self-discovery. Negative silence blurs and confuses our identity, and we lapse into daydreams or diffuse anxieties. Positive silence pulls us together and makes us realize who we are, who we might be, and the distance between these two. …Words stand between silence and silence: between the silence of things and the silence of our own being. Between the silence of the world and the silence of God. When we have really met and known the world in silence, words do not separate us from the world nor from other men, nor from God, nor from ourselves because we no longer trust entirely in language to contain reality. …It is in deep solitude and silence that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brother and sister.

“If nothing that can be seen can either be God or represent Him to us as He is, then to find God we must pass beyond everything that can be seen and enter into darkness. Since nothing that can be heard is God, to find Him we must enter into silence.” Thomas Merton

“A mind enclosed in language is in prison.” Simone Weil

“May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O Yahweh, my rock and my redeemer.”
Psalm 19:14

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is life as you live it “an uninterrupted flow of words?” If so, what does that say about you?
  • Have you experienced the love for others that can be discovered in “deep solitude and silence?”
  • Do you “trust entirely in language to contain reality?” Do you ever feel “imprisoned” by the limits of words?
  • Has time spend in silence shown you “who you are, who you might be, and the distance between these two?”

Abba, teach me a healthy rhythm that includes speech and silence, but may I know the world in silence.

For More:  Thomas Merton: Essential Writings edited by Christine Bochen

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: All Faced Calmly … In Good Time – On Silence (Thomas Keating, Soren Kiekegaard, John Fox, Parker Palmer, Melodia and Mother Teresa)

“Silence is God’s first language;

everything else is a poor translation.
In order to hear that language,
we must learn to be still and to rest in God.”
Thomas Keating

“Prayer is not hearing yourself talk,
but being silent,
staying silent
and waiting until you hear God.”
Soren Kiekegaard

“Stillness is where you meet with the essence of things…. In stillness we can begin to let go of external voices, stereotypes, and clichés that crowd out original, personal and internal voices. Those discordant outer voices fade away in stillness. Stillness is a place of rooting oneself in a much larger field of being.” John Fox

”But deep down, we know that when we step back, breathe, allow our agitation to settle, and simply start paying attention, we often see new possibilities in situations that once seemed intractable. The wisdom traditions, religious and secular, have always claimed that only in this contemplative state are we able to touch the truth, whether truth be understood as the fruit of mental acuity or of mystical experience.” Parker Palmer

“With silence, problems appear in a less somber light, in their real dimensions, and seem wholly tractable. Daily worries lose their force, until they appear banal. Hurrying makes no sense. To where am I running, you ask yourself, and why am I running so? Anguish does not exist here any more. All is in its place and will be faced calmly, in good time.”  Melodia

“In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. …Souls of prayer are souls of great silence. Silence gives us a new outlook on every-thing.” Mother Teresa

“If only you could be silent! That’s the wisest thing you could do.” Job 13:5

 Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you learned “to be still and rest in God” as the “wisest thing you could do?
  • Does practicing contemplation have a significant place in your life? If not, how instead will you “root yourself in a much larger field of being?”
  • Have you experienced everything falling into place in silence – to be “faced calmly in good time?” Have you experienced being given a “new outlook on every-thing” in silence? Have you given silence a genuine try?

Abba, help me to make the space and time for necessary, life-giving silence.

For More: Invitation to Love by Thomas Keating

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

Daily Riches: Unutterable, Restorative Holiness (Frederick Buechner)

“In Florida, in the winter, there is a walk that I take early in the morning before breakfast most days.  …I do not know any place lovelier on the face of this planet, especially at that early hour when there is nobody else around and everything is so fresh and still. The waterway drifts by like a broad river. The ponds reflect the sky. There are wonderful birds – snow-white egrets and ibis, boat-tail grackles black as soot – and long, unbroken vistas of green grass and trees. It is a sight worth traveling a thousand miles to see, and yet there is no telling how hard I have to struggle, right there in the midst of it, actually to see it. What I do instead is think about things I have been doing and things I have to do. I think about people I love and people I do not know how to love. I think about letters to write and things around the house to get fixed and old grievances and longings and regrets. I worry and dream about the future. That is to say, I get so lost in my own thoughts – and lost is just the word for it, as lost as you can get in a strange town where you don’t know the way – that I have to struggle to see where I am, almost to be where I am. Much of the time I might as well be walking in the dark or sitting at home with my eyes closed, those eyes that keep me from recognizing what is happening around me. But then every once in a while, by grace, I recognize at least some part of it. Every once in a while I recognize that I am walking in green pastures that call out to me to lie down in them, and beside still waters where my feet lead me. …I recognize that even in the valley of the shadow of my own tangled thoughts there is something holy and unutterable seek­ing to restore my soul.” Frederick Buechner

“He leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.”
Psalm 23:2,3

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you struggle with “seeing” the beauty that surrounds you?
  • Do you have a restorative place for your soul? Do you make time to go there?
  • Are you learning to be open to the one “seeking to restore your soul?”

Abba, slow me down. Unclutter my heart. Open my eyes.

For More: Secrets in the Dark by Frederick Buechner

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Silence –The Void Where God Is (Irvin Boudreaux)

“Abba John the Dwarf was very fervent. Now someone who came to see him praised his work, and he remained silent, for he was weaving a rope. One again the visitor began to speak and once again he kept silence. The third time he said to the visitor, ‘Since you came here, you have driven away God from me.’

“We have been taught for centuries that silence is a very vital avenue to a close relationship to our Creator. Today we exist in a world of clutter, noise and interruptions. The men and women who went to the desert felt very much the same about their world. Their journey was to escape those distractions to have a deeper and closer relationship with God. People who don’t observe silence have a difficult time understanding and respecting those who do. This saying deals with that issue. Abba John the Dwarf was focused in his work and prayer…. The well-meaning visitor seemingly wanted to engage the monk through his compliment. He apparently had no sense that the way to truly engage the Abba was to join in his work and silence. In that apparent void was the presence of God. The continual ‘noise’ drove God away. Through our conversation, our constant chatter, we crowd out the presence of God. Our challenge is simple. We must give God space in our lives.” Irvin Boudreaux

“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.”
Psalm 46:1

 Moving From Head to Heart

  • Abba John seems testy, his visitor, clueless. Nevertheless, the intended lesson is clear: respect silence. Do you have a difficult time “understanding and respecting” someone who has sought out silence? If so, what does that say about you?
  • It’s easy for us to lose our sense of the “ever-present” God. Are there well-intentioned people in your life who “drive God away” from you? Do you have a plan to protect your times of silence no matter what it takes, so this doesn’t happen often?
  • How can you practice silence in a way that allows for interruptions that may be from God?

Lord help me learn this lesson from the desert. Silence my lips and let me feel your presence. In my silence you fill the void instead of me filling my life so full that it crowds you out. (Boudreaux)

For More: The Sayings of the Desert Fathers by Benedicta Ward and Metropolitan Anthony

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”


Daily Riches: “Statio” – Coming to a Full Stop for Contemplation (Kathleen Norris)

“Once, when I was the only guest one Sunday night at a women’s monastery, the sisters invited me to join them in statio, the community’s procession into church. The word, which means ‘standing’ in Latin, is one of the many terms from the Roman Army that ancient Christian monastics adopted for their own purposes. To get into position, to station oneself, to take a stand. To wait in line, in a posture that invites individual watchfulness, to ‘recollect’ oneself before reentering church.  …I didn’t realize it at the time, but …not being able to amble into church on my own to find a choir stall pushed me into recognizing what the sisters already sensed, that Christ is actively present in their worshiping community. Not as a static idea or principle, but a Word made flesh, a listening, active Christ who in the gospels tells us that he prays for us, and who promises to be with us always.  Walking slowly into church in that long line of women taught me much about liturgical time and space. I found to my surprise that the entire vespers service had more resonance for me because of the solemn way I had entered into it.” Kathleen Norris

In some contemplative circles today, another, but related, meaning attaches to “statio.” Statio refers to the practice of pausing after finishing one thing and before starting another. It’s like Merton’s “recollecting” of oneself (one’s communion with one’s soul), or what Richard Foster describes as “reorienting our lives like a compass needle.” It’s simply taking a moment to lift up to God whatever has just transpired, and petition him to be in whatever is next. Such a practice can be very brief, but no doubt on occasions will lead into something longer and unexpected between the individual and God. Certainly it will help us to be more present to God through the day.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise”
Psalm 100:4

Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • Is your church experience given “more resonance” because of how you enter into it?
  • Do you attempt to “recollect yourself” before the service begins?
  • What do you do to be intentionally “present” to Christ who is also present as the church gathers?

Abba, help me to constantly recalibrate my soul so I am aware of and available to you.

For More: Amazing Grace by Kathleen Norris

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

Daily Riches: The Soul-wrenching Work of Letting Jesus Deal with Our Stuff (Jayson Bradley, Neil Postman, Matt Groening, Louise C.K)

“One way of looking at the history of the human group is that it has been a continuing struggle against the veneration of ‘crap.’” Neil Postman

“For most of recorded history, you couldn’t get away from it. The farmer, monk, chef, and seamstress all worked in relative silence within the rhythms of the day, month, and year. Gradually, technology intruded upon those rhythms and upset that silence. Electric light extended the evening and absconded with our rest. Radio introduced constant chatter, and television doubled down on that chatter requesting our total attention. …When I was a teen, I was excited for the ability to listen to a portable cassette; now I carry thousands of albums around with me. …Do you know those people who seem to carry with them an inner stillness? …Most people I know (myself included) are overstimulated and overwhelmed…. We scroll through a vast network of news stories, updates, and information responding in ways that seem more conditioned than reflective, our minds abuzz with constant distracted activity. …Louis C.K. nails the problem here.

…In the most profound way, Louise C.K. is totally right. [We think] ‘…It’s that God-shaped vacuum. He just needs Jesus to fill it up.’ But Christianity alone doesn’t just fill up that emptiness. Christians are as guilty as anyone else of looking for a shortcut to fill that hole …and, despite what we say, we fill it with the same exact things as everyone else. We may be able to curb that hollowness for a while, but eventually it catches up to us…. We run headlong into that void without the discipline to navigate it, and it consumes us. …It’s like the whole of our psyche has followed Marge Simpson’s advice to Lisa, ‘Take all your bad feelings and push them down, all the way down past your knees, until you’re almost walking on them. And then you’ll fit in, and you’ll be invited to parties, and boys will like you. And happiness will follow.’ Silence is the tool that brings to the surface all that stuff we’ve buried or lies hidden from us. The silence we need is more than an absence of sound; it’s a break from constant stimulus and activity. It’s about allowing the tangled cords in our spirit and mind to unravel and be stilled. It’s about stopping the constant need to control our surroundings with our actions and words in a never-ending quest to drown out the unrest in our hearts. It’s about facing the dragon of emptiness, loneliness, frustration, anger, hurt, and need head on . . . and doing the soul-wrenching work of letting Jesus deal with it.” Jayson Bradley

  • Do you still yourself to let difficult emotions surface?
  • Are you willing to do “soul-wrenching work?”

Abba, still my soul.

Daily Riches: What Happens in Stillness (Mark Buchanan)

“Sabbath living orients us toward that which, apart from rest, we will always miss. The root idea of Sabbath is simple as rain falling, basic as breathing. It’s that all living things – and many nonliving things too – thrive only by an ample measure of stillness. A bird flying, never nesting, is soon plummeting. Grass trampled, day after day, scalps down to the hard bone of the earth. Fruit constantly inspected bruises, blights. …a saw used without relenting – its teeth never filed, its blade never cooled – grows dull and brittle; a motor never shut off gums with residue or fatigues from thinness of oil – it sputters, it stalls, it seizes. Even companionship languishes without seasons of apartness. God stitched into the nature of things an inviolable need to be left alone now and then. The primary way people receive this aloneness and stillness is, of course, through sleep. We can defy slumber only so long … past a certain point, we collapse. We must submit to sleep’s benign tyranny, enter its inescapable vulnerability and solitariness. …The tricky thing about Sabbath, though, is it’s a form of rest unlike sleep. Sleep is so needed that, defied too long, our bodies inevitably, even violently, force the issue. Sleep eventually waylays all fugitives. It catches you and has its way with you. Sabbath won’t do that. Resisted, it backs off. Spurned, it flees. It’s easy to skirt or defy Sabbath, to manufacture cheap substitutes in its place – and to do all that, initially, without noticeable damage, and sometimes, briefly, with admirable results. It’s easy, in other words, to spend most of your life breaking Sabbath and never figure out that this is part of the reason your work’s unsatisfying, your friendships patchy, your leisure threadbare, your vacations exhausting. We simply haven’t taken time. We’ve not been still long enough, often enough, to know ourselves, our friends, our family. Our God.” Mark Buchanan

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God….” Hebrews 4:9

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you bring your best self to your projects? your relationships?
  • If not, are you too exhausted or preoccupied even to care?
  • Have you “been still long enough, often enough” to know yourself, your friends, your family – your God?

Abba, help me relax and enjoy the rest you offer.

For More: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: The Value of Mental “Down Time” (John Hersey)

 “Fifty-eight percent of American adults have a smartphone today. The average mobile consumer checks their device 150 times a day, and sixty-seven percent of the time, that’s not because it rang or vibrated. …all you really have to do is go outside and see how many people can’t even walk without staring at a screen. …one thing is clear: Paying attention to our smartphones through so many of our waking moments means our minds don’t spend as much time idling. And that matters! We talked to boredom researcher Sandi Mann [who said]… ‘You come up with really great stuff when you don’t have that easy lazy junk food diet of the phone to scroll all the time.” Mann’s research finds that idle minds lead to reflective, often creative thoughts…. Minds need to wander to reach their full potential. During bouts of boredom our brains can’t help but jump around in time, analyzing and re-analyzing the pieces of our lives, says Jonny Smallwood, professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of York. …inspiration strikes in the shower because it’s a moment when we’re not really looking at or focusing on anything else. Researchers have only really started to understand the phenomena of ‘mind-wandering’ — the activity our brains engage in when we’re doing nothing at all — over the past decade or so. ‘There’s a close link between originality, novelty, and creativity… and these sort of spontaneous thoughts that we generate when our minds are idle.’ [Smallwood] But when mental stimulation is a touch of the phone away? ‘That’s where daydreaming and boredom intersect,’ Smallwood says. ‘What smartphones allow us to do is get rid of boredom in a very direct way because we can play games, phone people, we can check the Internet. It takes away the boredom, but it also denies us the chance to see and learn about where we truly are….'”
 .

“Pay attention, Job, and listen to me;
be silent, and I will speak.”
Job 33:31

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • We all have our reasons for moments of obliviousness to others. Is your phone one of your reasons?
  • Can you embrace some moments of boredom, or must you distract yourself? Can you be “reflective?” What does your answer say about you?
  • Can others get your undivided attention? Can God?

Abba, meet me in “off” times when my mind is at rest.

For More: “Bored and Brilliant”

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: Holding Your Breath to Listen (James Emery White, Henri Nouwen and David Whyte)

“We don’t often speak of silence, much less solitude [but]… the power of silence and solitude has been recognized throughout the history of spiritual formation. It is the purposeful separation of ourselves from the world in order to place ourselves with God. The great advantage of the evil one is his ability to assault our senses with the material world in which we live as if to drown out the distant chords from eternity’s symphony. One can only surmise that it was for this reason that Lewis’ Screwtape announces to his nephew Wormwood that one of hell’s goals is to ‘make the whole universe a noise in the end.’ Only in silence can we move past the deafening roar of the world and hear the music of God. Here it is important to remember the difference between spiritual quietness, and the mere absence of sound that creates silence. ‘Silence is the absence of sound and quiet the stilling of sound,’ writes Frederick Buechner. ‘Quiet chooses to be silent. It holds its breath to listen.’ The Rule of St. Benedict speaks of cultivating silence in our lives, with an entire chapter devoted to its pursuit. ‘Unless I am silent I shall not hear God,’ Esther de Waal writes in her reflections on Benedict’s Rule, ‘and until I hear him I shall not come to know him.’ James Emery White

“The silence of solitude is nothing but dead silence when it does not make us alert for a new voice sounding from beyond all human chatter.” Henri Nouwen

Guard your steps as you go to the house of God
and draw near to listen
rather than to offer
the sacrifice of fools”
Ecclesiastes 5:1

“fools multiply words”
Ecclesiastes 10:14

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Is your world “a universe of noise?”
  • Is your religious experience mostly about the power of words? (preaching, teaching, evangelizing, praying, singing, sharing, testifying)
  • Do you know what it is to “hold your breath and listen” to hear “a new voice sounding from beyond all human chatter?”
  • Are you making space for the practice of silence and solitude in your daily and weekly schedule?

“Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
we have refused
again an again
until now.
Until now.”
David Whyte

For More:  Serious Times by James Emery White

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

Daily Riches: Silent Night, Holy Night (Andrew Murray, F. W. Faber, T. S. Elliott)

“Silent night, Holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant, tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

“Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

“Silent night, Holy night
Shepherds quake, at the sight
Glories stream from heaven above
Heavenly, hosts sing Hallelujah.
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born.”
Joseph Mohr

“The one fact we forget is that the saints of old were capable of spiritual silence simply because they had not contracted our modern habit of ceaseless talk in their ordinary life. Their days were days of silence, relieved by periods of conversation, while ours are a wilderness of talk with a rare oasis of silence.” Andrew Murray

“Whenever the sounds of the world die out in the soul, then we hear the whisperings of God.”
F. W. Faber

“Where shall the Word be found,
where will the word resound?
Not here.
There is not enough silence.”
T. S. Elliott

“It is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.”
Lamentations 3:26

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Have you been quiet enough to hear the “whisperings of God” this Christmas season?
  • Do you live in a “wilderness of talk” rather than “an oasis of silence?” If so, are you working to make space for silence in your life?
  • Have you experienced God’s redeeming grace? His glory “streaming from above” into your life? If not, ask God for this.

Abba, may this season contain enough silence that the Word would be found, and the word would resound.

For More: Then Sings My Soul by Robert J. Morgan, “Silence and Grace” by Richard Rohr

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”