Reflecting on the hope of the crucifixion and resurrection requires quiet and calm.



Last week was my family’s spring break. There was lots of swimming and ice cream, time to read books and watch movies, all capped off by a sunset cruise on the Gulf of Mexico. Best of all, there was no school, no schedule, no work and lots of family time.

But there was also very little silence. Over the years I’ve learned that, for my introverted self, silence is key for a successful vacation. Even though I’m with people I love doing enjoyable things, I have to get completely away at least a few times or I end up feeling overwhelmed. This is how God has wired me and I’m learning to embrace that. For my good and the good of those I’m with.

So, a few times during the week I packed a plastic grocery sack with some of my favorite things, grabbed a folding chair and walked to a nearby gazebo. I’d plop myself down, spread out my gear and wait for things to get quiet enough that the lizards who live under the gazebo would come out to sun themselves. Then I would enjoy the sun, the silence and my new companions while I read, journalled, pondered and colored.

One of the books I read during those gazebo hours was A Day and a Life by Penelope Wilcock. It is a lovely book with themes of sacrifice and forgiveness, of community and, most meaningful to me, silence.

 

Silence . . . is by no means just nothing. Perhaps it is there to let what is real emerge; to suspend, for at least a little while, the brittle and the shallow. Like brushing dead leaves away from the place where clear water will come welling up from the body of the earth, if you give it a chance. If you don’t choke it with a debris of words.

 

Sometimes I feel like my life has a debris of words.

Sometimes there is too much input and not enough output and everything begins to blur and confuse, and I feel like I can’t think or breathe.

In those moments I’m reminded that I need quiet and silence and space for my soul to breathe. There is no shame in that. Jesus loved spending time with the people who followed him. He loved spending time sharing life and laughter with his disciples. But he also knew when it was time to get away, to seek silence and solitude.

Those few, quiet hours in the gazebo brought restoration to my soul. They afforded me time and space to let all the jammed-up thoughts in my head trickle out, to allow simple truth in and to be renewed by the beauty around me. In their own way, they were the green pastures and the still waters God used to restore my soul (Psalm 23:2-3).

Now that I’m back from spring break and have turned the calendar from March to April, I’m reminded that Easter is just around the corner. And I don’t want it to be lost in a debris of words or activities.

One of my favorite practices of the Easter season is The Journey of Worship. It is an opportunity to quiet my mind and heart as I journey again through the events leading to the crucifixion and resurrection.

There is restoration for my soul in confession, in the bread and the cup. There is a renewed understanding of just how purposeful Christ’s sacrifice for me was. There is rejoicing anew in his resurrection and the life it brings. In the silence there is time and space for the clear water of truth to come forth, to clear away the debris that clogs my soul and to let truth and hope wash over me.

Before the Easter season has come and gone, may we each take time, whether it be through the Journey of Worship, Good Friday service or time spent with the Savior in our own homes, to to abide in his love (John 15:9), to be still (Psalm 46:10, Psalm 37:7) and to worship the One who calms and quiets our souls (Psalm 131:2).