#698 – The Silence

the silence

The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special is a little over a month away. The special, titled The Day of the Doctor, will be broadcast in over 75 countries, including a simulcast on BBC One and BBC America. I’m looking forward to Matt Smith’s penultimate turn as the Doctor as well as Peter Capaldi’s regeneration as the 12th Doctor.

I’ve enjoyed Smith’s portrayal of the Doctor and the frenetic energy he has brought to the role. I especially enjoyed the 6th season and its enemy the Silence.

The Silence are some of the scariest aliens in the Doctor Who universe. I know the Daleks are the ultimate killing machines but they look more like a kitchen appliance than a fearsome alien race. The Silence were quite different, though. Their big heads, lack of mouths and deep-set eyes made my skin crawl.

I often have the same reaction to silence as I do to the Silence.

As I’ve written about before this year I have been learning a lot about what it means to simply sit at the feet of Jesus. For those of us involved in ministry, vocationally or voluntarily, it’s easy to get so busy working for Jesus that we forget to spend time with Jesus. Part of my learning process has involved spending time with Jesus in silence.

Some days I would rather hang out with the Silence than sit in silence with Jesus.

Sitting in silence can be difficult. Not only do we have to silence all of our devices and resist the urge to see if anyone has liked our selfie on Instagram, but we also have to silence our minds and allow them to focus on Jesus. In a world with so much noise, silence can be one of the most difficult things to find and one of the most unsettling things once we’ve found it.

I’ve been trying out the spiritual practice of silent prayer. Silent prayer involves silently sitting with God and listening for his voice and his promptings. Instead of speaking prayers to God, silent prayer is all about creating the space and the silence to hear God speak to us.

I’m not very good at but I’m trying to get better. Based on the suggestions of trusted friends who have had more practice, I set an eight-minute timer and just sit silently before God. I try not to let my mind focus on work or any other distractions, but keep it clear to better sense God’s promptings.

I’m scared of this kind of silence because it really does create space for God to speak to me. When I fill my day with meetings, tweets, podcasts, Netflix, emails, friends, movies and selfies, it’s easy to miss out on God’s voice. If I allow so much noise in my life then I can claim ignorance on what God wants me to do. If I eliminate the noise, though, and hear God in the silence, then I am now accountable for what I’ve heard.

And that silence is much more frightening than the Silence.

How do you create silence in your life? What scares you about creating that silence?

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4 Responses to “#698 – The Silence”

  1. Bethany E. Says:

    Solomon will be moving back to CA on Sunday and I’m taking the opportunity to cancel our internet (read: NETFLIX) and see what stems from that 3 months of silence. We have gotten into the habit of always having a tv show playing when we’re home – a habit I really want to break. Hopefully God will be able to speak more clearly to me over these next 3 months.

    Also – for how generic-alien they look, The Silence are terrifying. I think it’s the suits and, you know, ability to make you forget you ever saw them.

    • We watch a lot of Netflix but, at this point, it hasn’t impacted my ability to find silence.

      I think the most important part in finding silence is intentionality. Our default setting is lives filled with noise. Unless we actively work against that, we won’t ever find the silence and solitude before God that we so desperately need.

      I’m always scared by the generic, big head, big eyes aliens.

  2. empathygrowth Says:

    I am a big Doctor Who fan and love the Silence alien race. It is a beautiful connection you make with themes in Science Fiction and the Christian faith. As a Christian Nerd myself, this is exactly what I’ve been craving.

    Regarding silent prayer, I took part in group meditative prayer. It was harder than I thought to sit silently listening for God’s voice. In a world drowning in technology, deadlines, commitments, and media, it is difficult to find time to be alone with God. I think that being intentional and focusing ourselves on God rather on what I have to do on a checklist, we will be better off for it!

    • Thanks for your kind words!

      You’re exactly right, all of our technology and distractions don’t help in focusing on God’s voice. Silence and solitude are perfect remedies for our too busy lives.

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