Coming to the red-brick church, we slip inside to rest, reflect, and lay prayerful hands on our ailing bodies. The sanctuary is empty. We sidle into pews, remove our hats, gloves, coats. Silence. Yank off our shoes. Silence.
Unlike the silence of a library with its absence of noise, of outward distractions, its rules and kindly librarians who shhhh! at you, in the empty church the silence is different. It's all about presence. Presence you can't name for what it truly is, can't see, but you can feel, if you bring your heart across the threshold of the outside world. This church could as easily be a synagogue, mosque, or a temple. There you meet yourself, and that inexpressible mystery that lies beyond you. This presence requires reverence, not obedience. We kneel at the shrine with no donation to make but our prayers -- for things beyond words, prayers of the open heart. This silence is alive, making possible a change. Silence
from THE EMPTINESS OF OUR HANDS by Phyllis Cole Dei and James Murray
He looked at me, standing up on the back of the room near the door, so tense, so close to tears, I was ready to open it and run out. "You held up your truth. Now go on holding up your truth. You want world peace right now. So don't be so optimistic, you might become complacent. You must take care of your aspiration to compassion. Just WANT to make these changes, just take it on with joy. If it doesn't matter to us how long it takes for world peace, we can have it right now, with complete joy."