I sit for a long time in the absolute silence. All at once, there is barely a perceptible noise, a soft rumble as of thunder. The sound dies without discovery of its nature or source. It returns, seeming to come from all directions at once. At last it emerges from its mystery, grows into a tremulous hum, and solidifies into chanting. The music has no tempo. There is no breathing audible in it. No one voice stands out; it is the fusion of all that produces the effect. Long held notes which at last modulate again and again in the calm rhythm of the heart. I am suspended in the sound. And charged. ... The chanting dies away as gently as it began. Once again there is the unanimous voice of silence.
~ "Taking the World In For Repairs" by Richard Selzer
Breath of life, You ride the waves of life with me in the rhythms of my communion with you. You enter the comings and goings of each day and in every prayer I breathe. Whether I am in the stillness of quiet prayer or in the fullness of the day's activity, may your peace flow through my being.
Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer utters itself. So, a woman will lift her head from the sieve of her hands and stare at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift. Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth enters our hearts, that small familiar pain; then a man will stand stack- still, hearing his youth in the distant Latin chanting of a train. Pray for us now.
What happened next is difficult to put into words... A Spirit of adoration and celebration sprang up within me, and I started dancing to the tune of a heavenly drummer and singing words unknown to my conscious mind. I sang with my mind too — hymns and psalms springing up from distant memory as well as spiritual songs that cascaded down in impromptu splendor. Thanksgivings poured forth for all things great and small. Praises joined the river in joyous exaltation. It felt like I was being invited to join, in my feeble way, into the ceaseless paean of praise that ascends before the throne of God.
Forgiveness is a miracle of grace whereby the offense no longer separates. ... It means that we will no longer use the offense to drive a wedge between us, hurting and injuring one another. Forgiveness means that the power of love that holds us together is greater than the power of the offense that separates us. That is forgiveness. In forgiveness we are releasing our offenders so that they are no longer bound to us ... freeing them to receive God's grace.
The true prophetic message always calls us to stretch our arms out wide and embrace the whole world. In holy boldness we cover the earth with the grace and mercy of God. This is a great task, a noble task... Helmut Thielicke writes, "The globe itself lives and is upheld as by Atlas arms through the prayers of those who love has not grown cold. The world lives by these uplifted hands, and by nothing else!"
We must begin where we are. For many people the heavy responsibilities of home and family and earning a living absorb all their time and strength. Yet such a home -- where love is -- may be a light shining in a dark place, a silent witness to the reality and the love of God. We must begin where we are, but once we have put ourselves and our lives into God's hands to be used when and where God wills, we must be on the alert, peacefully busy, but inwardly watching for signs of the will of God in the ordinary setting of our lives. To ears which have been trained to wait upon God in silence, and in the quietness of meditation and prayer, a very small incident, or a word, may prove to be a turning-point in our lives, and a new opening for God's love to enter our world, to create and redeem.
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