Quiet Day – Be Still

PANDEMIC ON PAUSE
Join us on Thursdays as we put the pandemic on pause by taking time away from our usual daily life to spend in the presence of God.

HOW TO ‘PRESS PAUSE’
This resource is designed to help you find God in the stillness over a period of say, a morning. We recommend you have a bible and a journal or notepad and pen to hand. You might also like to doodle, craft, or knit etc if this helps you to focus.

There will be two periods of silence this morning for you to stretch out into (like a cat in the warm sunshine) – I pray in confidence that you will meet God there.

Soak yourself in this silence. Don’t spend it waiting for whatever comes next but immerse yourself in the present moment. Absorb the stillness and the silence until it is both around and within you.

It is natural for your attention to try to wander off, and some people may struggle to reflect for a long period of time on any one passage at first. If you find yourself particularly restless or distracted, or if you have only a very short time to be still, do try to persevere with the quiet and stillness. Perhaps try visiting the Picture Gallery or Poets Corner and see how God speaks to you through these resources, too.

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We recommend the following shape to your time spent with this material – but of course you are free to do as you wish:

Entering the silence – sit somewhere warm and comfortable. Close your eyes, and concentrate on steadying your breathing for a minute or two. When your breathing pattern has established itself without effort from you, open your eyes and begin, using the section below called ‘Draw Near’.

Draw near – read this section carefully so you can absorb the meaning of the words as they are formed on your lips and then settle in your mind. You are now ready to begin your first reflection.

Reflection  –  allow yourself 30-45 minutes of silence with the passage. Allow yourself to settle in God’s presence and for His word to speak to you. Return to the passage if you find your mind wandering too far off, and ask the Lord to show you a word or phrase that you are to attend to.

Leaving the silence – spend some time in prayer: pray as you feel led, or simply give thanks to God for what you have seen or heard through your time spent with his word.

Comfort break: do take 10/15 minutes to grab a cuppa, stretch your legs etc after your first reflection. Where possible, try to remain in a state of ‘quiet listening’ even if not silent. Try not to ‘do jobs’ – if you feel tempted to do so, try to re-enter the silence for the next reflection instead.

Prayer walk: if the weather is good, why not go on a walk after the second period of reflection? Try to be fully attentive to what you can see, hear, smell and feel around you. What is our Creator saying to you through his creation?

 

BE STILL

This week we are using some material taken from the recent morning at Rodborough of quiet and refreshment.*

 

DRAW NEAR…

In a world vibrating with action
Say aloud: I have come here to be still.
In a world of tight schedules and deadlines
Say aloud: I have come to absorb the present.
In a world of limits and frustrations
Say aloud: I have come to the brink of eternity.
At the still point of our churning world
Say aloud: I can meet the unchanging God and know his peace.

 

REFLECTION 1:  “TIME”

Read aloud Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 from your favourite Bible version.

Now you might like to pray the following prayer before you read the passage more slowly a second time:

God of the ages,
who calls to us throughout the times and seasons of our lives,
speak to us now we pray, and grant by your Spirit
that we may have eyes to see, ears to hear
and hearts to receive you afresh.
For we ask this in the name of Jesus.
Amen.

 

Ecclesiastes 3 (NIVUK)

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

 

 

This poem from Ecclesiastes 3 acknowledges the fragility and transitory nature of our existence since humankind’s fall from grace: – its joys and sadnesses.

Spend a moment or two resting in the truth of God’s eternal presence.

What is He saying to you today? How does this passage speak into the time that you find yourself in now, and how does this lead you forward to reveal more of God’s kingdom, His will and purpose, for you?

 

REFLECTION 2:  “PRESENCE”

 

https://www.biblegateway.com/audio/suchet/nivuk/Ps.46

Click on the link above to hear the audio version of David Suchet reading this powerful psalm that asserts God’s sovereign rule over all creation.

 

Now you might like to pray this prayer before you read the passage yourself:

God of the ages,
who calls to us throughout the times and seasons of our lives,
speak to us now we pray, and grant by your Spirit
that we may have eyes to see, ears to hear
and hearts to receive you afresh.
For we ask this in the name of Jesus.
Amen.

 

 

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.        Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city;[b] it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.

The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.       Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord;
see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.

10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.        Selah

 

Allow yourself to again settle in God’s presence and for His word to speak to you. Return to the passage if you find your mind wandering too far off and ask the Lord to show you a word or phrase that you are to attend to.

This psalm reminds us of Jesus’s words to his disciples at the end of Matthew 28:20 – “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”

Spend a moment or two resting in the truth of God’s presence with us, and then perhaps pray as you feel prompted.

Now consider again: what is He saying to you today? How does this passage speak into the place that you find yourself in now, and how does this lead you forward to reveal more of God’s kingdom, His will and purpose, for you?

PICTURE GALLERY
Below are a number of photographs taken by Rodborough resident Aaron Herring that may serve as aides to your time of quiet reflection and prayer.

 

POETS CORNER

 

PRAISE            

I praise you because
you are artist and scientist
in one. When I am somewhat
fearful of your power,
your ability to work miracles
with a set-square. I hear
you murmuring to yourself
in a notation Beethoven
dreamed of but never achieved.
You run off your scales of
rain water and sea water, play
the chords of the morning
and evening light, sculpture
with shadow, join together leaf
by leaf, when spring
comes, the stanzas of
an immense poem. You speak
all languages and none,
answering our most complex
prayers with the simplicity
of a flower, confronting
us, when we would domesticate you
to our uses, with the rioting
viruses under our lens.
 

(from RS Thomas Collected Poems 1945-1990, p318, Phoenix, London: 2000)

 

*= All material used with permission and acknowledged where possible as follows. Words: Susan Sayers To Worship In Stillness, Kevin Mayhew, Suffolk: 1991, and Sarah Haslam. Pictures: Aaron Herring, Sarah Haslam.