Slow to Speak (4 November 2019)

Morning Encounter:

Introduction

This week we are focusing on the practice of silence and solitude. A lot of us are rarely alone and many of us live with a huge amount of noise, stimulation and distraction. A lot of the time we simply don’t notice the white noise of trains, planes and automobiles that make up the background sounds of our lives, let alone all the intentional noise we create through our own chatter & conversation, the radio, the TV, the variety of smartphone notifications alerting you to texts, emails and other reminders requiring your attention. It may not be possible in our busy schedules to retreat regularly and it may in fact be impossible to get away from all the noise, but we might be able to create quiet spaces so we may ‘better still the inner chatter and clatter of our noisy hearts and be increasingly attentive to God.’ (Life with God, Bible)

Read:

My dear friends, you should be quick to listen and slow to speak or to get angry. If you are angry, you cannot do any of the good things that God wants done. You must stop doing anything immoral or evil. Instead be humble and accept the message that is planted in you to save you.

(James 1.19-21)

Reflect:

In these verses, James is commenting that loose, unwise, uncontrolled words are often connected to anger. All too often we get angry and say too much; our words simply run out and much damage is done. All too often we can be quick to speak, to offer our advice, to make our point, or to simply make ourselves heard. James invites us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. It was good advice then, it’s still good advice for us today.

Respond:  

Make it your intention today to deliberately listen more, to be attentive to people and to God. Try to respond rather than react to situations. You might like to practise taking a deep breath or pausing for three seconds before you respond to someone today.

Midday Meditation:

‘Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening, speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.’

(Henri Nouwen)
 

Evening Reflection:

'Come to me, all you who are overburdened, and I will give you rest, for I am gentle and humble of heart.'

(From Matthew 11)

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