Solitude and Silence: Important Abandoned Trails
I discovered a link yesterday, while I stayed at home doing domestic stuff for the holiday, that discloses abandoned trails. Abandoned trails become overgrown through disuse, and soon fall of the map. It’s not they’re not still there, but that they’re not acknowledged.
This certainly reminds me of solitude and silence, two of the ancient paths that were well worn by the strongest of saints and the church at its best. Like invasive brush that overtakes a trail as soon as it’s use ceases, the root and spread of modernity has made the church pragmatic, goal and action oriented, with different criteria for success. And so these trails, so needful each and every day for the restoration of our own hearts, are overgrown. They’ve fallen into such neglect and disuse that few even see them anymore.
Thank God we’re beginning to rediscover the ancient paths, embracing silence and solitude as a means of encountering God. The disciplines are a little awkward at first, and there are plenty of books available if you need help. Here’s a good one from an evangelical perspective. And here’s another good one on the simple pragmatic end of the silence meditation piece, even though it’s not written by a Christian. Our friends from the East can be excellent teachers of form, though we must be careful in discerning content for many reasons (see previous Sunday's sermon, for example).
I need silent prayer, intercessory prayer, and moments of solitude way more than I need to watch the nightly news, or Friends reruns, or Lost. Come on – the ancient paths are calling. Those who walk on them find a healing, hope, and transformation, available only there.