What I love about reading scripture is that however wise you think you are, there is always a new message waiting for you. I was reading the various passages in Luke that we are studying in Firelight, and I noticed how many of them referred to Jesus’ need to retreat and find a quiet time and place to pray. In Lent, I have tried for once, to lead children away from all the creative and crazy ways we can learn, and back to some old-fashioned bible reading - and silence. In chapel last week, we did a silent meditation, and maintained a silence for one minute. As Lent continues, we will try and build up our silent “muscles”. Several children said that the experience of silence was hard for them, but several others said they enjoyed it (and to my delight, said that they had done similar exercises in children’s yoga classes).
When I attended Boarding School, every moment was supposed to be supervised. We were not allowed to go on walks alone, and it was considered a little odd not to be with friends, doing group activities, most of the time. And so I began the process of finding neglected places in the school where one could be alone without being noticed - a couple of unused classrooms, a small room behind the Assembly Hall balcony – because I knew that I needed that time of quiet.
These days, as we have become more protective as parents, it is often difficult for this generation of children to find a special place where they can be quiet, which is probably why teenagers become so possessive about the privacy of their bedrooms! But children, like adults, need quiet time, to reflect on the mysteries of growing up, and to learn what might feel like to be independent, in both positive and negative ways. Prayer gives us reason to be quiet, alone, and reflective. The prayer we are doing in chapel is as simple as this. We begin by being comfortable in our place and still in our bodies. We listen to the silence. We breathe in God’s blessing and goodness, and breathe out any fears or worries. And we listen for the still, small voice of God. Just as the longest journey begins with one step, the life of prayer begins with a minute of silence.
A reminder that there is a Family Games Night this Friday, March 9th, from 6-8pm. I know that several families have already signed up, and I hope it will be a great night of fun and fellowship.