Sunday, February 1, 2009


This morning in Sunday School at Trinity Presbyterian, we were talking about how God speaks today. One way, the teacher said, quoting A. W. Tozer, was in the silence. Away from the distractions of the world, alone with your own thoughts, allowing the persistent presence of God to permeate your mind, there is much to discover about life.

It's funny how often life is about going back and forth. These days there is so much information for us to consume. A quick Google search and you can find out almost any little thing you want to know. There is great advantage in that. The world is meant to be explored, and at no time in history has that been easier than now.

But sometimes all the noise drowns out that persistent presence known as Yahweh. I remember one time being taught to breathe the name of God. Indeed, the name Yahweh flows in and out very easily, and sounds like a whisper, piercing through the storms of noise around us.

I've noticed that for some reason American Christians tend to prefer the practical to the mystical, and if the mystical is desired it is most often in the context of loud storms of emotion. I like discovering elements of the mystical in my own faith.

It is a serene, cool, crisp winter day here in Charlottesville. Perfect for... watching the Super Bowl, no doubt. And getting work done for tomorrow. And for surfing the Internet, and talking to friends and family on the phone...

But if I can just stop for a second, I notice that it's really quiet in my room right now. The world looks very still through my window. It's late afternoon, and the sun is shining at a low angle on my desk, highlighting the edges of a beautiful framed quote that an old friend gave me.

And I can hear my own breathing.

God, the world is so beautiful.

I feel like a stranger. I don't come to the silence often enough. Just like I don't get back to my old home town enough, that small town with nothing to do but see old friends. I guess that's why I fumble so much on the question "Where are you from?" I've never made my roots strong enough anywhere to have a reasonable answer.

Just the same, I wonder if I know who I am, since I find it so hard to describe the silence of being alone.

Maybe the one who does know will tell me.

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