#698 – 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?