Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Self-Imposed Half-Day of Silence

I spent several hours praying in this place in Kenya, looking at these tall trees
swaying back and forth to the rhythm of the wind.

Wyatt T. Walker, who was Martin Luther King's Chief of Staff, says the heart and soul of Martin Luther King lay in his self-imposed "Day of Silence." On those days King "abstained from the distractions of daily life, including the telephone, television, and radio. That day was spent in prayer and meditation and in developing a rigorous discipline of "think time," which he devoted to mapping strategies for the nonviolent campaigns he led." (In Lewis V. Baldwin, Never to Leave Us Alone: The Prayer Life of Martin Luther King Jr., vii)

Eugene Peterson has written: "All speech that moves men was minted when some man's mind was poised and still." (Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor, 30. And, BTW, I've read Contemplative Pastor three times, indicating how much it has spoken to me.)

For almost 40 years I've had a self-imposed half-day of silence. It's every Tuesday afternoon, for 3-6 hours. This is a "work day," not my "day off." My work, the work of a pastor, the work of a Jesus-follower, is to discern the work of God and meet with God to discover what I am to do. Authentic Jesus-following means that one's doing or business comes out of one's days of silence with God.

Just me and God. You and God. If we truly believed such meetings and encounters were possible we would cast everything aside and run to that secret place where God waits for us.