I have been reading a book on the Quakers recently and noticed how much emphasis the early Quakers had on silence in their meetings.  Silence was, of course, something already associated with some branches of monks.  However, the concept of silence in a meeting rather than as a way of life got me thinking about silence in our modern world and realising just how uncomfortable we are with it, me included.  It is something hard to achieve but as we come to Remembrance Day on the November 11th which has silence at its’ heart, it is amazing how powerful silence can be.  In 1979 I went to the service at the cenotaph in Whitehall with many thousands of others but at 11.00 o’clock when the two minute silence began a city as busy as London fell silent.

On Remembrance Sunday, as in the early Quaker meetings, silence is not for the purposes of just emptying of oneself but the emptying of oneself, so as to allow the space for God to move into! Maybe, that is why we avoid it.  Maybe, we just don’t want God to move in and so by remaining busy, doing the things that we think he wants us to do, we crowd him out.

So consequently, I invite you, in this current lockdown, to try to embrace a little more silence, to go and sit for just a couple of minutes with nothing to distract you and offer God the chance to come and fill that space, allow him to speak to you about what he wants for you.  It may not be easy but God might also surprise you.

Andrew Ison

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