Perhaps you are old enough to remember or have simply seen an old radio with a tuning dial. With deft fingers and patience, one could turn the dial slowly to eventually land on a radio station. With fine-tuning and precision, the noise and static would give way to a clear–if faint–station.
And this is analogous to prayer. Now I grew up in a noisy church. The electric organ would vine leaves of notes around prayers. The choir sang. The church, which is to say, the congregants, would exhort with “amen” like a boy throwing a firecracker on the pavement on the Fourth of July. And the preacher would proclaim for well over thirty minutes and very often forty-five minutes, a sermon that now seems to me in hindsight to have been more stream-of-consciousness than a crafted commentary upon holy writ. Church was noisy. Silence was not even a word in our theological vocabulary.
We live in a very noisy world. I am sure you have noticed this, especially during these weeks of political conventions that provide a stage for our culture’s anxiety. The rhetoric, protests, speeches and and speeches and speeches, pelt us with words. It is little wonder that we feel confused, agitated or simply worn out after listening to even a little bit of all this. What to do?
Prayer and worship offer us a still point of silence. You can listen to my sermon, Still Point, from this past Sunday to ferret out the deeper meanings here. This week, I urge you to patiently tune the dial of your inner life until you find that still point of quiet where you are met by “the peace that passes all understanding.” Turn off the news for a while. Barricade yourself against the noise. Dial into the center where, to borrow from Eliot,
the light is still
At the still point of the turning world.
~See you Sunday where silence and peace meet praise