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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"Wait a minute!"

How many of us ever really take time to "wait a minute?" A few seconds perhaps, but a whole minute? This summer at Capitol Hill Presbyterian we are beginning each Sunday worship service with 3 minutes of "silent preparation" which translates in Presbyterian as "eternity!"   
Silence is part of and essential to our well being.  It is found in some form of fashion in nearly every spiritual tradition.  Yet it is so rare in our culture.  Or, is it?

Perhaps, like so much of life, it is all about perception.  What if we begin to re-imagine silence as not so much the absence of sound but rather our stopping and waiting long enough to actually hear (or see) what is taking place in the moment?   Or in the case of silent preparation for worship, simply pause to clear our minds for what is happening and about to happen.  The same can be done before a meeting, or a phone call, or replying to an email.

How would your life change if throughout the day you really took time to "wait a minute?" any situation, you can always ask the question, where's the emptiness in this? Where's the emptiness in this? And in any moment or situation where we find this gap, where we find this sense of everything's not just one long sentence that isn't even punctuated…it's in those moments where actually there's a quietude. That's when new life and fresh ideas can come through us and into the situation.
Tami Simon, On Being with Crista Tippett

Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
1 Kings 19:11-13

We join spokes together in a wheel,but it is the center holethat makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot,but it is the emptiness insidethat holds whatever we want.
We hammer wood for a house,but it is the inner spacethat makes it livable.
We work with being,but non-being is what we use.

Tao te Ching #11 - Stephen Mitchcell translation

If a person is given silence, he is given wisdomThe ProphetMohammed

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.
Mark 1:35

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