For my Easter devotional this year, you can either listen to the podcast or read the script. Join with me as examine how Jesus was quiet through these final days of his life.
Do you remember back to February, the beginning of Lent this year? It seems ages away and yet was only little more than a month ago. Our world has changed so much since then.
But on February 26th, Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, I felt called to quiet the noise of the world in order to hear more clearly the voice of God. So I started a practice of 15 minutes a day in silence. I don’t have the dishwasher or washing machine running. I don’t read anything, not even my bible and definitely not my phone. I just sit with the quiet.
This then sparked the idea for my Easter devotional this year, which is called a Quiet Easter. On a writer’s retreat at the beginning of March I wrote the scripts not knowing what the world would look like as we approached Easter.
The world has changed in so many ways with a shift to working and schooling from home. And normally I would love quiet, cozy days at home with my family.
But because of Covid-19 the voice of the world is invading my sanctuary even more, with new government announcements and constant updates from other countries. The shift to online communication is beautiful but can also be overwhelming as we find ourselves constantly connecting with others, but with no time to connect with ourselves, or our Father.
So, what happened when I started my daily Lenten practice of 15 minutes silence?
Well I found that it is amazing how much I can hear.
The birds are incredibly busy in my front garden, flitting in and out of the plants and chirping about their day. The wind makes all sorts of noises in the trees and as it makes it way around my house, and there is an occasional yapping from the little Jack Russel across the road.
For silence helps you listen.
Yet I have heard more than just the neighbourhood noises of the birds and the dog.
I sit in silence and notice my breath; I notice the twinges and grumbles of my body. The way my left shoulder aches and maybe has for days. I notice the way my mind is going over and over ‘that’ conversation with my daughter. I notice the guilt for not getting something done settling in the pit of my stomach.
Getting quiet is uncomfortable.
Stopping the hustle and bustle of life, the noise that we mask our days with is incredibly difficult and deeply challenging.
And we are all living in a time now where we are more aware of this than before.
For our busyness has been stopped, our commuting from work to gym to dinner with friends has stopped. We are sitting in our houses, without the hustle of our lives to distract us and we are all feeling uncomfortable.
And the temptation in this discomfort that we are feeling is to continue to numb with hustle and noise. I haven’t found it easier to get my 15 minutes of silence in recent times. It is much harder with my family around.
And the noise of the world hasn’t stopped because I am now home. With the amount of information coming at me from various sources, if I wished, I could create a term of home-schooling content for my kids myself. And let’s not mention the numerous ideas on how I could improve my home in this time, or how to finally write that book.
I am home with a totally cleared schedule and it is still very hard to get quiet. And because of the discomfort I feel in the quiet, it is every so tempting to surround myself with noise again.
But I resist, because I have found that hushing the noise of our lives allows us to hear.
It allows us to tune in to the often-ignored demands of our body.
It allows us to hear the unspoken questions under the whirring of our mind.
And it allows the still small voice of the Holy Spirit to speak to us.
It is only in the quiet we are able to notice these things.
How very tired we are.
How overwhelmed we are.
How very sad we are.
And it is in the quiet that we are then able to surrender them to God.
For you cannot release what you did not even know you were holding on to.
What have you been holding on to? What are you noticing in this uncomfortable quiet that we have all collectively been forced into?
Is it anger?
Is it shame?
Is it guilt?
Is it resentment?
And I’m not talking about just holding these things against others. Though maybe that is the case.
But I have found in the quiet that Jesus will gently show me where I am holding those things against myself. Anger that I just can’t do everything right, shame about the way I interacted with my family, resentment about the fact that I cannot get a moment alone.
As I sit in the quiet and allow him to speak gently to me, I am able to name what I have been holding on to. And in naming it, I am then able to release it into his hands. And there I do not find judgement which is my natural reaction. My internal critic starts up straight away, “How long have you been holding on to that? Couldn’t you have done better? Shouldn’t you have released this sooner?”
But Jesus instead looks at me with compassion and allows me to release these things to him. And his next question is an invitation, “What do you need?”
I have observed that in the face of the tumultuous last days of Jesus’ life he was incredibly quiet. He had a quiet certainty, a quiet authority, a quiet surrender, and a quiet forgiveness.
So for this Easter devotional I have written a podcast to lead you through some reflections over the season. Each day focusing on the different ways that Jesus was quiet when everyone else was loud, and in meditation turning to him.
We start on Holy Thursday and I hope you will join me as we seek to quiet ourselves this Easter and listen to the voice of our Father.
Peace be with you,