Living on the Sewanee “Mountain” (it’s really a plateau) for three years changed my attitude towards silence. On the mountain, the silence is noticeable and loud, especially at night. In the still quiet, one can hear wildlife rustling from 100 yards away or more, or the noise of a late-night gathering of students from across the campus, or the deafening chirping of crickets. It’s quite startling when first experienced. Yet after a few weeks, we didn’t notice it anymore, until…
We ventured down the mountain to Murfreesboro (just outside of Nashville) for groceries and some Chick-Fil-A. It was then we noticed how much noise there was in town…the cars, the construction equipment, the piped-in music inside and outside of buildings. It rattled all of us. We couldn’t get back up the mountain fast enough. Once we got home, we all offered a collective “ahhhhh”, like a refreshing glass of iced tea on a hot summer day. It was glorious. From that moment forward, though it’s been rare, I’ve welcomed any opportunity for silence. It is a Holy gift from God.
1st Kings 19:11-12 says, “As Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.”
Brothers and sisters, God meets us anywhere… everywhere… yet often times we hear God most in the gentle whisper of His Holy Spirit, speaking to our heart in the stillness. Seek moments of quiet, of silence, throughout your day. Make a daily retreat a priority, even if it’s just 5 minutes, to enjoy the Holy gift of silence.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. May the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, keep you safe and make you strong, this night and always. Amen.