Running Interference

Jan 31, 2001
by Mary Daniel

1 Corinthians 13:1 – Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. (KJV)

Amos 5:13 – The prudent shall keep silence in that time. (KJV)

2 Chronicles 15:15 – For they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them; and the Lord gave them rest round about. (KJV)

Psalm 46:10 – Be still and know that I am God. (KJV)

A woman was vacuuming the sanctuary as I entered for our weekly Contemplative Prayer meeting. Filling in for the regular janitor, she hadn't been told of our coming, or that the vacuuming wasn't usually done on Mondays, nor was she even familiar with what it was we did at our meetings — which consisted of a reading and at least 20 minutes of complete silence, followed by prayer.

We managed to make our way to the minister's study and took up the task of being put to the test of concentrating on God rather than the grinding whrrrrr of the vacuum.

Though it took a bit of doing, the sound soon seemed somewhat soothing in the distance. That, however, was short-lived, and it became louder and louder as the vacuum edged its way closer and closer to the study. A gentleman came into the lobby, inquiring of the janitor as to the location of a food bank. The telephone rang incessantly. We were surely being put to the test, which made me smile, so I worked up a prayer to say in addition to the one to be read before praying Our Father in unison.

Then suddenly everything was still. A silence so sweet we savoured it for several more minutes. We weren't even conscious of each other's breathing, grasping the gift that only God could have given us.

To bring us out of the contemplative state, the following was my prayer:

Prayer: Father, we thank you for the interruptions we witnessed today, for they mean that we can hear; for the woman doing the cleaning, for it means she has a job; for the gentleman asking for the food bank, for it reminds us that there are those who have little or nothing to eat; and for the telephone calls, for they mean that people still seek the church. In your name we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Mary Daniel <marydee@shaw.ca>
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

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