September 6, 2019
The Beauty in Silence
We have a monthly time of meditation practice in our church. Although we only gather together once a month, it is meant to model for people a more regular time of practice that they can do at home.
When I learned to meditate, it was time spent in silence. However, when we started this group at church, some folks requested that we sit quietly with soft music playing in the background. So, we have done that, but always with the knowledge that individuals can sit in quiet meditation in another room of the church.
I was recently re-reading a 2017 edition (volume 28, number 2) of “Arts: The Arts in Religious and Theological Studies.” The theme for that issue was Silence. It was a fascinating examination of the power and promise that resides in quiet, as it was spoken of through poetry, essay, written reflection and visual art.
Speaking of silence, one poet, David Rensberger, wrote in part,
Outside the house,
I come across the experts at this practice, vigilant,
persistent, constant in their skill:
the trees, the ever-present soil, the fog. (page 13)
The visual images in the article immediately preceding this poem were striking in a couple of different ways. After all, how does one depict silence? The artist, Y.Z. Kami, did so using several means. In some of his works, a person is shown in a pose that one might call meditative, with the eyes closed. Overlaying those images, and others as well, is a blurriness that communicates a time and sense of being that is separated from the stark clarity of much of life. The combination of these two approaches communicated to me a clear sense of silence.
We bring times of silence into our worship experiences on a regular basis. I am going to explore ways in which I can use the resources from this particular magazine to enhance those times together, as well as in our monthly time of meditation.
Welcome to my website. I hope you will discover a connection to the life of small churches, and the richness that the arts can bring to these churches.