(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; 8:5-6 Luke 19:44)
According to the poet in Ecclesiastes there is a time for everything - for speaking and keeping silent. However, not speaking does not necessarily have religious value and is not usually equated with silent worship devoted only to God. We must set aside the extraordinary event of a worshipful meeting with Him. We must find the time at all costs even amid the pressing rhythm of modern life, in the interstices between committee meeting and the next. If needed, we must stop the clock.
Will it be lost time?
The frequent participant in worship answers to doubt which always attacks, with the sense of peace and relaxation that is realized during and after the period of silence and is projected well beyond the limits of the hour worship. Worship itself may be prolonged for all the time which elapses between one meeting and the next.
Problems appear in a less murky light. They can be completely faced in their real size. Daily worries slow down to the merely banale. Haste is senseless - you ask yourself: "Where are you running" and "Why run anyway?" Anxiety no longer dwells here. Everything is in its place and will be faced with calm in due time.
All of this without a scrap of mystical exaltation.
After so much time wasted in running after exploding fancies, one finds again the real sense of life and of relationships with others, nature, and God. Lost for a long time or forever is the watchful defence against things and people. Such is the miracle of a bit of time lived in the dimension scanned by the rhythm of the Spirit and not by the pendulum which monotonously counts seconds, hours, and days on the way to the end.
A period of time lived in religious centering reveals every other use of time as inadequate and insignificant, which can in any case be discarded through spiritual growth. One feels a sense of shame for an ill-spent life and a commitment to spend it better in the future. And for the better spending of life, time dedicated to silence in search of divine leadings is a holy choice.
It is not a bad way to offer the time that is left to us to God.
Florence, 5 IV 1987
I know, now that I look back across the years, that nothing has carried me up to the life of God or done more to open out the meaning of love, than the fact that love can span this break of separation, can pass beyond the visible and hold right on across the chasm. The mystic union has not broken and knows no end.
Rufus M. Jones, The Luminous Trail,
concerning the death of his eleven-year-old son.
The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.
[Next meditation - this translation]
[index to this translation by George T. Peck]
[index to the revised translation]