My wife and I visited the Taizé community in France at the same time young people from across Europe came for a week or two of prayer, study, and worship. The evening vespers were enchanting. Sitting on floor cushions we sang numerous Taizé prayers in nearly a dozen languages. Soon we stopped thinking about the service and simply experienced worship. It was the silence between the a cappella singing, however, that I found most captivating. To sit in silence after letting go of thinking is to experience worship through your soul, rather than through your conscious thoughts or feelings. It defies description. The words, For God alone my soul waits in silence, took on new meaning for me after experiencing Taizé worship (v. 1).
“The Rule of Taizé” advises those in the community to let the Word of God breathe into their work and rest throughout the day. Yet, they are not encouraged to read several chapters of scripture for serious Bible study. Instead, they are told to “read little” and “to dwell on it.” This idea of reading less and reflecting more feels contrary to my Baptist upbringing and my vocation as a pastor. I’ve been raised, and have raised others, to think about scripture and God.
Some things, however, cannot be thought out; there are feelings which words cannot adequately describe, circumstances that will never make sense. Therefore, the psalmist waits for God in silence. This poet wants to move beyond thinking.
In our fast-paced, deadline-driven world, sitting in silence for God is resistance to the forces tugging at your life. Reading (and watching and gaming) less and reflecting more offers space for our soul to hear God beyond the ways our mind and feelings process.
This past week, how often did you put aside all that you have to get done to sit in silence and reflect on your life and faith? How could you make that happen today?
God, help me to wait in silence to hear your still, small voice. Amen.