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Date Posted: March 5, 2019

The Sound of Silence:
A Community Lenten Practice

Dear People of Grace,

I love Lent. I look forward to it each year, because I think sometimes we need permission to be a bit more intentional in our practice of faith. It is so easy to slide into some sort of normal routine where we become less and less conscious of where our actions are grounded. Lent is one of those spiritually brilliant—and necessary—opportunities to re-ground ourselves in a deeper awareness. Lent pushes our buttons, and that is the point! It is an extra-ordinary time in that it takes us out of the ordinary patterns of our lives and places us in desert spaces that provoke us into deeper reflection and prayer.

This year, I am calling us all to one shared practice: Silence. I am aware in my own life how noise distracts me, how blinking lights and catchy tunes draw my eye toward what someone else has considered important. Lent asks us to enter into those spaces in our hearts, those quiet spaces where God whispers and invites us to be transformed.

Beginning this coming Sunday, I ask that you enter the nave, the main worship space, in silence. I will post signs there to remind us all to guard our speech, to be aware of our impulse to make noise. I want to be clear: I am not asking us to ignore one another or be rude. By no means! Rather, I would ask that you gather in the Greeting Area between and prior to the services to catch up, to share stories from your week, to laugh. Lord knows we need joy in our lives, and Sundays in Lent are little feast days in the midst of the sparseness of the Lenten Season.

I only ask that when you enter the narthex, you do so grounded in silence. I ask that we be very intentional about this time we have together, this space for prayer, reflection, and transformation. Slow down. Breathe deeply. Let your fingers feel the dry pebbles in the font that symbolize this desert space in our hearts that yearns to blossom—but that is waiting for new life to emerge.

Silence is more than the absence of noise, it is a distinct posture that supports our hearts in being receptive to the Spirit’s presence. To be quiet, to listen deeply, to watch, to reflect. To enter into the desert space. This is the hallmark of Lent. See how this feels to you this year. How does it push you? Where does it push you? What do you hear? What surprises you?

Lenten blessings to you all,
Stuart