The Children’s Talk I shared with you today was an activity that my mother used to do with me as a child. It simply could have been that I haven’t stopped talking since I was 2 years old sitting in the back seat with my cousin Josh and she just needed a few moments peace. But there is a spiritual discipline in this activity as well. Ever since it has been a discipline I still practice and have yet to master. I am not good with being still. Even when I sleep, I am all over the place. Yet I know that it is in the quiet moments of life that I hear God, it is in the quiet moments that we can observe the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit at work inside of us and in the world around us.
My father loves those silent moments and seems to grow in them. He takes them in stride. Whereas, I tend to fear the silence, the unknown, the moments when I am alone. Yet our scriptures tell us that this is exactly when we have the most meaningful God experiences in life. The busyness of life, the noise all around us and inside of us, blocks out the message that God is speaking to each one of us. The message that promises to connect us to the peace, that very same peace that Christ had that brought him through the fears of the cross. There is strength in the words, in the inspiration of God revealed in the Holy Spirit, a Spirit that does not exist anywhere else but inside of you and me.
So if you are searching, if you are fearful, if you are in need of a word of guidance and comfort, then practice what Johanne Tauler of the 14th century urged his congregants to do, “In prayerful silence you must look into your own heart. No one can tell you better than yourself what comes between you and God. Ask yourself. Then listen!” Taking the time to listen for what God is telling us means to look within ourselves. When we seek a presence with the Holy then we need to first examine ourselves, our own hearts, and rid ourselves of the things that get in the way of an open relationship with the Lord.
For me it is my discomfort with the silence that forces my mind to look within. Search within yourselves for what hinders that relationship for you. This is what is meant by our Psalm reading today. It is a reminder of the way God has been present in the lives of those who are faithful in their times of struggle. However there is recognition that we are not always aware of God’s presence and we can easily miss it if we do not stop once and awhile to focus ourselves upon the Lord. As the Psalmist writes, “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations. I am exalted in the earth.’ The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge”. This passage can be interpreted also as “Be still and know that I am with you”.
We busy ourselves sometimes because we like the feeling of constantly being at work, being in movement, and accomplishing things. But in that drive to accomplish, in all that we do, we need to remember to look for God not just in our actions and the works in this world, but to look for him in our hearts and to feel his leading in those moments of down time, those moments when we aren’t distracted by the tasks of this world. This is what we are called to. For God is with us, he always has been. It is up to us to recognize him there. It is up to us to give the Spirit time to reveal itself to us. It isn’t easy to do when our routines and schedules don’t have time for this. But it is worth it when you do.
When I sit in the silence and wait for the discomfort to pass, and wait for the fidgetiness to subside and for my mind to finally quiet down, I find that I become aware of the world around me in a new way and I can truly feel the peace of God alive in my heart and I know that God is working; I know that no matter what I am experiencing in life that God is good and his goodness will win out in the end.
So join with me and if you choose close your eyes, take three deep breaths, and quiet your minds and just listen. (wait a little while) What did you hear? Whether you have good hearing or impaired hearing, in the silence we all can hear and feel. We can hear the life in the world and wonder at the miracle of the world’s existence. We can feel the release of anxiety and feel God at work. We can feel the slowing and deepening of our breathing and feel the peace of God in that. You can feel the power of the Psalmist’s words “Be still and know that I am God”. You can feel the movement of the Holy Spirit, the counselor, promised to us by Christ calming everything and revealing God’s presence.
So this week ask yourselves what is coming in between you and truly feeling and hearing the Spirit at work? What is coming between you and a life changing connection with the Holy? Is it preventing you from truly listening to him? Then join in the spiritual practice of listening and see the barriers melt away and hear and feel God more closely.
 Johanne Tauler, 14th Century Theologian.
 Psalm 46: 10-11, NRSV.
(based on Psalm 46 and John 14: 15-13)