UUAA service August 10, 2014 [Backlog]


If it is language that makes us human, one half of language is to listen. Silence can exist without speech but speech cannot live without silence.

~ Jacob Trapp


  • 395 Sing and Rejoice
  • 1056 Thula Klizeo
  • 86 Blessed Spirit of My Life
  • 286 A Core of Silence
  • 352 Find a Stillness

Today by Mary Oliver

Trois Gymnopedies, No. 1 by Erik Satie

Trois Gymnopedies, No. 2 by Erik Satie

I note next to “Call to Worship”: “Summer as season of rest??” So I have to suppose that the call to worship included some reading about or reference to the notion that the summer is a season of rest. Certainly it is the season in which children are released from their classes (most of them to a summer of leisure); it is also, for this reason, the season in which families take the most vacation time. It is a season in which some places of worship (such as my congregation) reduce the number of services, and do not offer religious education/Spiritual Growth and Development every Sunday for the kids. The summer holidays tend to be pretty chill, unless you are the master barbecuer at the block party, or in charge of the fireworks for your town. It is thus not entirely strange to position the summer as a, or the, season of rest.

The sermon was titled “Is Silence Weird?” and was given by Guest Minister Rev. Fran Dew. My notes offer “We seem to enjoy being busy; this is spiritually unhelpful.” Seems obviously true. In moments of quietude, we find peace. It is the rare person who discovers serenity in the rush of doing. I note that a Buddhist silent practice is to quiet the “monkey mind,” while a Christian silent practice is to fill one’s mind with God, and ask, “are these not the same?” That answer would probably depend on the individual Christian’s concept of what it means to fill one’s mind with God, whether it’s an active, imagining, thing, or more of a passive allowing one. (As I am singularly incapable of either quieting my mind or thinking meaningfully about any god, I have got no personal experience, but anyone who does is welcome to chime in.)

My last note is “the purpose of words is to create silence,” annotated “(some Buddhist myth or other).”

A few weeks ago during the service, Glen Thomas remarked that he feels he needs to do a good job when he provides the reflection preceding the bit of silence in our services, because for some of us it’s the only silent time we’ll get all week. That struck me. It doesn’t seem like it ought to be correct, but I can’t honestly say he’s wrong. Personally, I have access to silence, but I reflexively fill it with metaphorical noise. Anyone have thoughts about how to grab little bits of silence, here and there?


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