“Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake up from sleep.”
“Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake break out in song.”
“Stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place.”
Stay awake! Carpe Diem! Pursue your dreams! Maximize your potential! Make the most of the days!
Those are often the phrases that flow through my mind and heart and, yet, last Friday on a Day of Silence, I took a relatively long walk in the woods. It was redemptive. Worship in a church sanctuary often renews my soul and energizes me to go into the neighborhood to pursue God’s love, peace and justice and to equip and cultivate Christ-followers to do the same. Yet, walking in nature, beholding the wonder of creation (the Celtic Christians call creation The Fifth Gospel) does so almost 100% of the time for me.
My Day of Silence was just that! God was not speaking to me in a still small voice. The echoes of creation were ringing that day louder than the church bells in a small town square. The echoing words, in my mind and heart as I put one foot in front of another, were “irresponsibly responsible.”
I was raised in a wonderful family who taught me to be responsible and like the Apostle Paul “to redeem the time” (Ephesians 5:19). Yet, a day of silence, or Sabbath or even time in prayer seems so irresponsible, especially when one’s to-do list is lengthy and growing. Yet, silent days and Sabbath are irresponsibly responsible. They are irresponsible to the demand and do and achieve and accelerate of our culture. One writer calls Sabbath, silence and prayer “wasting time.”
Being irresponsible to the urgent, important and mundane is part of God’s rhythm for our lives. Jesus as he was heading to the certainty of the cross paused in the Garden of Gethsemane to be “irresponsibly responsible” and to pray, and what a prayer it was. “Not my will but thy will be done.” “Let their cup pass from me.” This seemingly irresponsible act enabled him to assume the responsibility of his mandate!
When I take Days of Silence and practice Sabbath regularly, I find that I am much more awake to what God is doing in my life and in our world. I find myself more responsive and responsible to God.
This Holy Week, I invite you to not get so caught up in a flurry of church services and activities. Along with them, be silent and listen to God as we “take up the cross and follow Him.”
Cultivating Transformational Leaders,