Silent Attentiveness

People of Hope:

Quite soon, we will enter into a period of intentional discernment. During this period, we will set aside space and time to listen to God. Instead of just speaking to God in prayer, we will listen to God in prayer. Literally listen.

The executive committee and I got together a couple weeks ago to discern who we might ask to serve on the transition team. This is the small team of people who will lead us through telling the stories of Esperanza, the stories of who we are and who God is calling us to be, and forming these stories into answers for questions on the Ministry Site Profile. The executive committee and I sat in the Fellowship Hall, each of us with a church directory. After we clarified the role of the transition team, I explained I would pray and that we would then enter into complete silence. We would look through the names of the members of this congregation and be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We would write down the name of anyone who, for whatever reason, pricked our attention. Though the executive committee all agreed to this process of discernment, it took us a while to surrender to silence. Conversation continued as people turned pages. Excited conversation. Inspired conversation. Nonetheless, I had to remind us a couple of times: “We’re going to be completely silent now.” Before you judge any member of the executive committee, try sitting in silence, even for two minutes. 😊 No music, no podcast, no audible, no news, also no spinning of stories in your head. Just silent attentiveness.

This silent attentiveness to God is very simple but not very popular even among people of faith. We are nearly constantly bombarded with information, with images, with sounds, with thoughts that challenge our ability to be silent and attentive.

During our period of intentional discernment, to hone our silent attentiveness to God, we will pray together every Sunday and at every meeting a prayer of discernment, the prayer below.

God of grace and love, you have a dream for us. Open the eyes of our hearts to see you at work. Unstop our ears to hear the call of your spirit. Unbind us from our fears that we might go where you lead.

Silence for reflection: Where might God be leading us?

We pray by the Spirit’s power in Jesus’ name. Amen.

We will discover the dream God has for us, the people of Esperanza, if we but listen. Silently. Attentively.

With anticipation,

Pastor Sarah