Church Views · Message Series · On Being Christian

lent series week 2 : solitude

In the 7-week Lent series at my church we’re looking at the spiritual disciplines Jesus portrayed during his 40 days in the desert. This past weekend we talked about solitude. After a slightly scaled-back worship set, Pastor Gene Appel started his message… in silence, using the placards in the pictures above. The silence was several minutes. And it was captivating.

We often teach listening for God by using 1 Kings 19:12, “After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” The Hebrew word for “whisper” is literally “sound of silence.” God is often not in winds or earthquakes or other drama. He’s found in silence. And yet, we pray for him to “work powerfully” or “supernaturally.” What we want sometimes is the dramatic God. But maybe what God wants is just our quiet, focused attention.

Silence is an amazingly different experience in church. Mostly because in today’s evangelical church we tend to fill every minute – even the “quiet” moments – with music, underscoring, teaching, direction, instructions, media, video. But maybe what people really need is an oasis from the rush and noise of life, and for us to model ways to connect with God.

We took communion in silence – a profound experience. God certainly inhabits the praises of his people, but he is very present in silence. And then Gene – via placards – gave the benediction in silence. And released the audience. There was no walk-out music, and people quietly left the room.

I can’t help but wonder what God will do with a church family willing to embrace the spiritual practices of Lent together – giving up in order to get more of God.

5 thoughts on “lent series week 2 : solitude

    1. We got a lot of feedback that it was truly and “experience,” and people actually felt the impact. I was reminded how often in church we just tell people what to do… but modeling it in the service was far more impacting.

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  1. I don’t disagree with the value, power, and impact of silence but I couldn’t get that out of 1 Kings 19:12,

    >>> quote:
    “After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” The Hebrew word for “whisper” is literally “sound of silence.”
    <<< unquote:

    I looked up the Hebrew word (blueletterbible.org) for the above translation "whisper" (qowl: literally "voice" although "whisper" would convey the literal translation of "still small voice") I couldn't find any translation for the phrase "sound of silence". The Hebrew means an actual audible utterance. My point on this verse is that I believe many Christians incorrectly use this it when some thought comes to mind and attribute it to a "still small voice" from God whereas this verse is God audibly speaking to the prophet Elijah which would be appropriate for a prophet of God. Didn't mean to go overboard here 🙂 Larry

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  2. I hope my comment wasn’t inappropriate. Just to be clear though, I don’t disagree with the Pastor’s point, that maybe God wants is just our quiet, focused attention. :

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    1. Not at all – thank you for providing that information. I don’t know Hebrew, and didn’t think to check it online, and I’d much rather know if I got something wrong. So thanks again for clarifying.

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