Summer.  Vacation season.  Unwinding, unplugging, slowing down.  Right?

Summer is the season of rest and relaxation – or so goes the myth.  But have you noticed?  Many simply trade in the frenetic, crammed-calendar, over-scheduled, stressed out, spread-too-thin hustle and bustle of the school year for the summer version of the same thing!  We not only don’t slow down, we hit the after-burners, turn another corner and careen into another season at warp speed.  This past summer we learned some things about busyness, “noise,” silence and solitude.

It was the last Sunday in August.  We planned to hike to a favorite “simple church spot” – a secluded mountain-top copse surrounded by evergreens and a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside – for a picnic and communion.  The day didn’t start off well.  Brunch was late, complete with cinnamon rolls that could double as hockey pucks, spilled juice that turned the kitchen floor into a sticky Lake Victoria, and a dog that polished off an entire bowl of sausage gravy that was supposed to accompany biscuits!  Oh, and our favorite praise and worship CD – the one we like to listen to while we’re eating – that CD developed a terminal case of hiccups.

On top of that, the weather wasn’t exactly cooperative.  Leaden gray clouds billowed off the coast.  Rain was in the forecast.  We hemmed and hawed about whether or not we should attempt an outdoor excursion, but finally decided to go for it.

The clouds melted under the noon sun.  Blue skies chased away gray overcast.  While some hazy remnants stood stubbornly off the coast, enough sunshine poured into a picturesque glen to raise some sunburn!

We read Habbakuk 2, sang some hymns and remembered our Lord’s sacrifice for us at Calvary.  We decided to observe a sixty minute silence.  No conversation.  No chatting, nattering, noise for one hour.  No one expected a total silence for one hour to be so… hard. For some, the amount of discipline required was immense.

“It was harder than I thought it’d be” someone said.  “I was sure at least 40 minutes had passed at one point,” said another.  “But when I checked my watch, only nine minutes had gone by!”

Some reported using the sixty silent minutes for confession and repentance, others for worship and adoration or petition.  Some quieted the internal chatter, listened to bird song or the wind ruffling hemlock hems, or watched wisps of cloud float by.  It took  time to settle down, focus, and “dial in” to the Quiet – some more than others.  But the effect was Really Something.

Please join us for Part 2 on September 20.

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