Posted by: Postordinandy | November 4, 2010

Listening to the silence of God

We have started a new monthly pattern of meeting together recently. We have a monthly meal, two or three weeks of more structured teaching and reflection, and we have put aside the remaining Wednesday evening as a time of more intentional and deliberate listening to God together.

This intentional listening is a new thing for many of us, and like all new things brings with it an element of discomfort and awkwardness. We are having to learn, together, how we might together learn to listen to God. Most of us have been involved in and around communities of faith for long enough to have had some kind of experience of hearing God’s voice; but these experiences are diverse in their form, frequency and disclosed meaning. Hearing God’s voice, we have already discovered, can be experienced significantly differently within a community than for individuals.

Because we acknowledge the multitudinous ways in which God may choose to speak to His people, we are not seeking to pre-define how He might speak to us as a community. We have experimented with times of collected silence; we have prayed for each other in turn; we have read the scriptures and reflected on themes and principles that seem to emerge; we have let our conversations roam apparently free, and peppered the same with questions, pauses and repetition; we have signalled and sign-posted previous thoughts and stories for further reflection.

Hearing God’s voice is one of the challenges we face as Christian communities on a regular basis, and a journey that we still have a long way to travel on. Individually, there are those in our community who feel they have heard God speak to them very clearly in the past – in a variety of ways; but together?

In many ways it feels like we are still feeling in the dark here. Being still enough – physically or otherwise – to filter out all of the distractions and other background noise, in order to notice and discern God and what He is (or has been) saying to us, is in no way easy or straightforward.

Actually, it feels like we often haven’t even got to that stage. We are stuck, perhaps even helpfully, at the stage of still asking God to reveal Himself and His will. “Where are you God?”, “what are you saying here?”

“What is God saying here” is actually a key question for us as a community at this time. So much of our recent history is that of action, and then reflecting on what God has done through that action; rather than perhaps action as a response to a clear call from God. For the most part, this (again feels) like the way that God is working with us, and we presently have no clear desire or compulsion to change how we are or function. But it does throw up some interesting challenges to us – how do we ensure that we are walking in the right path.

What are you saying to us here God? You have compelled us to action; action we do not always understand, or do well; action we cannot always explain, even to ourselves; action that does not always clearly produce fruit. What are you doing through us here God? You have led us to a new land, full of strangeness and apparent danger, distractions and focus, plenty and little. What are you saying to us, God? You are silent, yet shouting through the people we meet, their stories and ours. What are you saying to us God? What would you have us do? Who would you have us be?

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Responses

  1. That sounds good can u email me about this as would like to join st lukes church.

  2. That sounds good

  3. Hi folks,

    Be encouraged in your new moves together with God. Great to keep reading what you’re up to and learning. ANd Andy, your writing style is getting better each year. Bless yez all.


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