By Rev. Beverly Kahle – St. Paul U.C.C., Nashville
I came across a quote from Mother Teresa, “The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace.” What a profound statement!
This world today does not lend itself to silence. Try finding a place that is without noise- you’ll see how difficult it is! Even sitting in my office, with no one else in the building, the radio off, I hear the dull hum of the computer, the tick of the clock, the constant burble of the boiler system, and the occasional squirrel scurrying over the roof. But, even with this constant background noise that reassures me that I am still connected to this world, n my own stillness I find my mind is more open to thoughts about God. If I allow myself to follow this strand of thought of connectedness to God and creation, before I know it, I am in prayer- conversation with God. This true conversation may begin with wonder at the world and a sense of thankfulness or it may start with, “God, what a mess everything is in!” Regardless of the beginning, it leads to thoughts of what would I have God do to change things, but they begin to end with – what would God have me do.
Of course, this is where it gets messy! This communication –prayer with God- reminds me of how God has acted faithfully in the past, and challenges me to believe that God will be faithful in the future. Then, I can’t help but respond with feelings of gratitude and … let’s just say it – Love.
This stirs up all sorts of things as love compels me to act on those things that God brought to mind in that conversation that began with just looking for some silence! We often talk about love being blind, but with God, love opens our eyes and we see what needs to be done, and faith gives us the strength to act.
So, as a Christian, I am then compelled to reach out to the hurts and hurting of the world. Entering into the pain and the distress of others is risky. Doing these things means I often have to put my own needs to the background and give up some of those couch potato times, but an amazing thing happens at the end of the day. Instead of ending the day with a restlessness, emptiness, and complete exhaustion, I find my heart and soul at peace. Then I seek the quietness and silence, and the cycle begins again.
This is the essence of the Lenten season – putting God at the center and bowing ourselves and our schedule to Him. As we move towards Easter, may God grant you those quiet moments that energize us and move us to serving him.