Thinking about quiet and about listening is a large part of my life as a musician. Our work is about creating sound in silence; to communicate directly to other spirits whatever needs to be said. Quiet—silence—is a necessary part of any piece of music. The silences (rests) in music frame the sound for clearer hearing and understanding of the music’s message. How many of us have white noise playing in the background of our busy lives? The constant noise blocks out a whisper. Do we truly listen, or are we using “noisy business” to block out some unbidden, unwelcome obligation?
We live like the earthquakes, the winds and the fires described in Kings, today. Lots of noise, lots of distraction. We don't seem to find time to stop and listen to God, or each other. Our freneticism calls us to be, and depends on us being like jugglers: juggling spouses, children, parents, family time, work, money, spiritual growth, exercise, jobs, chores,..all important things and vying loudly for attention. If we lose our rhythm and focus, all ends up in chaos—like a juggler dropping his juggled objects—creating chaos in our life. But God does not call us to be jugglers, He calls us to be people of balance and to Listen for His voice.
Psalm 46:10 charts out the path for a rewarding life: “Be still and know that I am the Lord.” The problem with us is that we are not still long enough to know that God really is the Lord of all our existence—not just in our church activity—but in our marriages and families, our businesses and friends, our money and health, and anything else we wish to add to that list. We need to remember that we are not our own─that we are made by God, for God.
Teresa of Avila (Spain, 1515-1582) said: “How is it, my God, that you have given me this hectic busy life when I have so little time to enjoy your presence...”
In the Gospel today Jesus walks on the water and calls Peter to Him to do the same. Peter’s faith falters and he begins to sink in the waves, and he cries: “Lord, save me!” Jesus does for Peter as he always does for us; he stretches out his hand to hold us up. He stills the storm, He tells us to take courage and to ‘Be Not Afraid.’ First though, it is important to be still, in order to be able to hear the whisper of God’s voice in our hearts. And as usual, it’s all about our priorities, our choices.
Find some quiet time to think and pray about the priorities in your life. Is God first? Do you take the time to hear God whisper to you? We are facing the end of the summer season and as always our pace picks up—even in the midst of a global pandemic and lockdown school begins, activities need to be scheduled—and our lives become noisier. The Lord is here and speaks to us. Let us in the stillness of our hearts pray that we may have the consciousness of His presence and listen to His voice. Let us in the stillness of our hearts pray that God will reveal to us the things that hinder our quiet and our peace. May your prayer of listening be attuned to sacred silence and deepen enough to hear the voice of God in your hearts and minds.
Keep singing in your hearts! And please listen carefully…
Just a Note: Mrs. Laura Herrod listened to the Camden Singers link I printed out in a recent article and shared with me another link that she was led to by it. It is an arrangement of “How Can I Keep From Singing” a thought that enters my heart and mind a lot in these times. It is performed on zoom by a NYC choir and orchestra, and it brought me to tears while listening.
Thanks for this, Laura!