Sunday, May 17, 2015

Silent Spiritual Formation

Friday's blog post about the rise of the unaffiliated made me think about all the articles I've been reading.  I've seen articles about how we shouldn't worry, how we should keep doing what we've been doing and trust the Holy Spirit.  I've seen letters from Millennials instructing us how to change.  I've seen many a post about how we need to be raising our children and how church can help.

And I just feel tired when I think of the morning ahead:  the 9:45 service where we will share our highs and lows, then I'll be assisting minister at the 11:00 service, and then we'll count money.  It's a lot of human interaction in a week that's been more full than usual of human interaction.

I find myself continuing to think of Julian of Norwich, whose feast day we celebrated recently.   I find myself longing for a cathedral cell.  I want to believe I'd be more creative if I could just find quiet.  I'd certainly be less irritable.

I find myself yearning for the calm that comes in the best sacred spaces.  But I want to be less busy in those sacred spaces.  I love liturgy and music, but once again, I return to my yearning to just sit in silence.  I know that spiritual formation is important, but we've given too little time to the possibility that spiritual formation doesn't have to involve words, sound, and relentless interaction.

Not for the first time, I find myself wishing that Lutherans had a more contemplative tradition. I just want to sit in silence. Maybe I'll let you interrupt occasionally to read the Word of God.  But nothing too long.  I don't want a sermon full of others' interpretations of the Word.  We can do a bit of liturgy to prepare for the Eucharist. But maybe we could simplify it down to the words of institution.  Maybe we could sit silently and each pray our own prayer:  praying together in silence.  Don't bother me with lots of instruments. Don't amplify. It's O.K. to remain in the background.

I know that lots of churches have spent lots of money on sound systems.  I know that many of us are doing multimedia shows with screens.  I know that lots of churches have spent lots of money on grand organs--maybe on whole orchestras. But I can't be the only woman who finds her nerves increasingly jangled, who needs a space of quiet where she can hear God speak.

Those of you who are casting about for your niche in the mission field, hear my whisper!

1 comment:

Kathy Suarez said...

Hi Kristin -- I live down in Miami, and I look at your blog once in a while. I just read your post and "run away to join an intentional community." What does "intentional" mean? Is that some sort of code word for "not Catholic, not Catholic knee-jerk"? I was raised Lutheran but became a Catholic in 1974. Best thing I ever did. Take a look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I think you would be pleasantly surprised.........