As the clocks go back…
With the clocks having gone back at the end of October, darkness falls so much earlier now. Those long summer days, when it was still light at 10pm, seem very distant and even with lasting mild weather, there’s an increasing chill in the air as winter arrives. And, in just a few more weeks, we’ll be well and truly into the Christmas season where I’m sure for you, like me, December becomes a blur of busyness! I often tend to think of November as a lull before the storm – a moment of quiet before the Christmas rush.
November is the month of remembering – from All Souls to Remembrance Sunday. As the leaves fall from the trees and the poppies from the ceiling of the Albert Hall, in stillness, we remember those who have gone before. And, of course, it’s in a moment of quiet silence that we pause on Remembrance Day and at our service on Remembrance Sunday at St Thomas à Becket (12th Nov, 10.30am) to remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and for the freedom of others.
Euripides, the Greek poet, said, around 450BC: “Silence is true wisdom’s best reply.” Yet the truth for many people is that – in our busy, noisy relentless world – finding even stillness, let alone silence, becomes increasingly difficult and can often feel unnatural or uncomfortable. Yet silence – space to pause, reflect and breathe – is, I believe, important for us all. It’s often in this quiet space that we begin to see and hear God more clearly above the cacophony of our noisy lives.
Mother Teresa put it powerfully: “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.” Our western, city lives, increasingly mean we have a tendency to fill every second with noise or busyness – but sometimes we simply need to be SILENT in order to LISTEN. It’s in those moments of quiet, having found some space and stillness, that this month we might perhaps be encouraged to simply spend time in God’s presence. ‘LISTEN’ is an anagram of ‘SILENT’ and it’s often in the silence that we can hear more clearly the heartbeat and voice of God.
I wonder when did you last pause, or make space to silently listen to God? As we head towards Advent, it might be good to rediscover the joy and discipline of putting time aside to simply wait on Him. Why not, this month, make space in your diary, whether at home, in the garden or out on a country walk, to just be still, be silent and listen for the Master’s voice?
Have a wonderful November.
Priest in Charge Loves church pioneering, family, guitars, Macs, jeeps and Jesus, not necessarily in that order...