Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Notice how many people talk, and talk. They go to church, they speak, they fellowship, they even have songs, hymns, and prayers—all aloud. Afterwards, they have met with the Lord God, they will say.
In James I have found the words "slow to speak," to encourage me along with Habakkuk 2:20 ". . . let the whole earth keep silence before me," when thinking of Silence in Worship. This has been of great motivation to me to practicing Silent Worship at home.
How can people, anyone, hear from Heaven and from the Lord of Light and Truth, if they are always speaking? If I am constantly speaking to someone, the other person is going to be constantly listening. That is the way I see Silence in Meditations, Devotions, or Worship. If I am praying aloud, reading always aloud, or always speaking aloud; I will not be able to hear what the Lord Jesus Christ (HERR Jesu Christie) has to say to me, to my family, to my soul, to my mind. I will have distracted my own self from deep Communion with God.
In putting this into practice the last while, all talking during our Home Meetings (when we don't go to the Mennonite services) and our daily Family Worship—the Lord is able to speak, and we are better able to hear His Leading Voice. I admit to ye all, I have a long way to go. I am not perfect. I am an unworthy creature looking to an all Worthy Saviour. I write, not as though I have apprehended these things entirely, but this one thing I have ascertained unto: forgetting those things behind me and reaching forth to those things before me.
I can say this as well, where there is an abundance of talking there is no want to iniquity. Arguments. Debates. Strife. Wrath and anger, and a multitude of other things. There is a time to speak and a time to refrain from speaking. I am learning to not be all talk. I am learning to control my mouth, by the aid of the Lord God our Heavenly Father. I am learning when to speak and what to say.
Speaking. Talking. Commotion. Clamour. Loud tones. Shouting. Whooping and hollering. . . I am growing tired of talking too much in Home or Family Worship. So, I have been convinced of this: to practice Silence and have Heart, Hands, Mouth, and Soul laid to the Lord—whom speaks in the still small voice of calm. . . And there is Healing and Solace in that Active Silence. (Maybe I have over written? Maybe I have put this in the wrong place? Maybe I'm not qualified to speak? But aside from that, these are some of my own musings.)
Blessings to ye all, Friends.
Not only egos divide, but words too. Words can build and edify, so there is time and place for them. Words can tear down, so quickly what took years to build up. Yet a word fitly spoken, is like apples of gold set in silver. What about an unfit word?
The tongue (or mouth) is but a small organ of the body, but it can all too quickly set a fire ablaze. The mouth can speak much, but from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. No one can tame it, so it seems, for James goes on to say we put bridles and bits into the mouth's of horses to steer them. There's a lesson I need, to allow God to keep my mouth under control, and steer me.
I am still under construction. I have said much. I have observed much. I have seen the unedifying use of much talking, and I have been seeing the contrast of Silence speaking volumes, yea nearly edifying. . .
With much more to learn, I need to have Silence. For in that Silence I have been finding Solace.
Thank thee, Friend Howard.
I raised my daughters Quaker. When my youngest daughter was about 5 or 6 her Catholic grandmother asked if she wanted to go to church. She said yes. When she got home, I asked how she had liked it. She said to me, "I don't know how they know what God is saying, they are always talking."
I find that fascinating and interesting, that even thy daughter at that age, wondered how God could speak to people that are nearly always saying something.
It reminds me of Hannah Whitall Smith somehow, in her books: The God of All Comfort, The Christian's Secret to a Happy Life, &c. . . but cannot place it just now.
There is a time for speaking, singing, and ministering; but even that should be done to the edifying and encouragement of others, and still there is a time for the Silence—where there is God alone. "Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. . ." (Notice, "slow to speak" in that.) Friends, I am not saying never speak at all, but rather sometimes it is too much. When is it enough? How do we keep a proper balance here?
Thank thee for sharing that.
Thank ye all for thy input. It has been helpful to me to take a look at this. Peace to ye all.
I have been thinking a lot lately. I have been going through some deep waters. I have come across this one thing: "Death and Life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." Proverbs 18:21 All the more reason to make good use of our words. . .
Yes. Most of our everyday talk is just procedural or venting or witty. But the kind of stuff in the bible hits you like a sledge hammer of clarity. That's always been my gasping reaction. It definitely ain't OUR sort of words, that's for sure. We may appropriate them but that doesn't make them ours first.
My point being your point...yes, they are words but these are sublime words that make sublime look destitute. We're dealing with a power that wields our language for another end. Turning our words into the Word.
This is sort of creepy, in a human way, for it's bigness, it's implications but transformational to the Christian's language.
So we're dealing with something not of words at all but expressed that way, for somebody's ease.
Thanks and God Bless You Timothy
Some people experience the spirit with speaking, talking, commotion, clamour, loud tones, shouting, whooping, and hollering. Why not, so long as it is done in the proper place. Imagine a Pentecostal at a Mennonite meeting, or vice versa? Who has the Spirit?
Personal experience of being in both Pentecostal meetings and Beachy Amish/Mennonite meetings have proved to me that in quietness I have been able to connect to the Spirit. That is not saying "who has the Spirit," because that is not my place to Judge. I feel that where there is clamour and other chaos, there is every evil work. Try the spirits, not every Spirit is of God. . . The greatest most reliable test is in Galatians 5 the fruits of the Spirit.
There is a time for every purpose under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 3:1) There is a time to speak and a time to be quiet. There is a time to morn and a time to laugh. All of it should be done under the Guidance of our Lord God and Father. For in the multitude of words there wanteth not iniquity. The tongue can build unto edification, or it can tear down unto destruction. Life and Death. Also, James would teach us to "be slow to speak, slow to anger, slow to wrath. . ."
Trust me, Friend, I have witnessed both sides. Both meetings, and a great list of many other meetinghouses and congregations or groups, enough so that Silence has become a balm, healing, and solace. Without it I would not, and thee either perhaps, be able to hear the Teacher or Sheppard's voice. Again, the fruits of the Spirit is where thee and I would have to witness to tell Who hath vs Who hath not, not I. . .
Thanks Timothy. I unite with what you have discovered. There is peace and fulfillment in the simplicity of it. We have the fruits of the spirit framed and hanging in our meetinghouse library so we never lose sight of their importance in testing our actions and leadings from our silent worship.
To that I say, "Amen!" Thank thee, Friend Howard.
To all of ye Friends, I don't advocate that we never speak. I do advocate a time frame set apart for Waiting on God in the Quietness of a place which is not noisy. For us, it is in the wooded natural surroundings just outside our little home. Within this spot we let go of our self and yet being conscious of nothing but God. Even then, our silence hast a natural Praise of birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and many insects making melody within our time of Silence. Sometimes the vehicles going north or south on 501 enters our ears. Otherwise, all is calm. All is still. In that stillness, we connect to God. . . We do it far easier within Silence than we would ever do so inside of loudness. Yet there is a time for that, I suppose, but not when we are connecting personally with God.
Contrary to Habakkuk 2:20, about letting the whole earth keep Silent before God, in nature, there is a constant Praise. A tapestry of music. . .
Also, when we first go to our place of Meeting with God, the birds stop singing. Insects stop their voices. We have entered into their habitats. We have interrupted their Praise and Worship in Song. After we remain quiet for some time, that all, very interestingly, changes and resumes back to normal. The birds sing again, once they become familiar to our presence there. Likewise the insects and squirrels begin their undulating calls and etc. If we were loud, that would not happen. The Praises of God in nature would stop and cease. Only when we are Silent, those creatures return to their duties again. Not a moment before. (Unless it is a scolding Carolina Wren, Red-eyed Vireo, or an occasional squirrel.)
While nature has its chorus, we have our Quietness. While we cease to speak, God will begin to speak to us. While we remain without a song, noise, or loudness; nature does all of that on our behalf, as I have observed so many times. It is so peaceful. It is so soothing. It is meaningful and right, that I would not wish to go there unless I was Calm and Still. I'd never go there with loudness. I'd save that for the crescendos and forte or fortisimos on the piano instead.
Another thought comes to mind: "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." (Proverbs 15:1)
Thank you for your words--just what I needed to reflect upon! My husband is not a Friend, but I have noticed with relief and joy that he is watching the TV less throughout the day. It has been a blessing in the past, helping him to not feel so isolated, but I am glad that he is watching less and that there is more quiet in our home. Now that he is going to bed so early, as well as at least a 90-min. daily bedrest in the afternoon, I have more hours for quiet tasks and reflection. Sometimes we do watch taped shows together, but they are usually of a better quality than so much of the popular material cluttering the airwaves.
Today I went to the mall (a rare occurance) to get some much-needed items by taking advantage of a sale. My goodness! As I sat in a fitting-room, I was conscious of very loud music, often interrupted by poorly-worded announcements, and it was a relief to escape from the store! I rarely have the radio on in the car anymore, because it just seems so intrusive. I'd rather travel with my own thoughts and be more aware of the world around me.
Your words reminded me of a time, years ago, when I was living in a small town in southern WV. I had driven home through the mountains, through the darkness, after work late at night. At the time, I had rented a parking space on the top of a small parking garage a block from my apartment building. Arriving in my space, I got out of the car, looked up, and was transfixed by the brilliant firmament above me in the frosty sky. "The heavens proclaim Thy glory, O Lord!" burst from my lips, and then I simply stood, silent, for some time. It was one of the deepest stillnesses I have experienced, after that initial exclamation. All my weariness dropped away, all the littlenesses of daily life vanished. I am a poet, but I cannot express it. Yet two words come close to describing how I felt afterward: immense, serene joy filling and lifting me....
Thank you, Friend!--Barra
I like thy comment and thoughts, Barra.
We like harmless a cappella ensembles from chant to polyphony to hymns sung by Mennonite groups or Beachy Amish groups, yet even then there is a time and place for it. There is also a need to just have it quiet.
It hath been in Active Silence I have found Solace and Healing. Healing in an Inward manner but also a soothing physical manner. So, thank thee for thy expressing thyself so lucidly! I appreciate thy wording and thy Friendship as well. Take care.
Thy humble Friend,