Sermon: Silence

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Preached on 9th March 2008
by Reverend Keith Harbour

1.         Stick your fingers in your ears if you don't like noise!  How loud can you shout?

2.         Where does hymn 535 come from? ‘Master Speak!'

3.         Recount briefly the story of the young Samuel.  Many remember the story BUT can you remember what God said to Samuel?  A warning about Hophni and Phineas the sons of Eli.

4.         Some places I go to, I cannot hear people speaking to me.  Why do we need silence?  To listen!  So with prayer, we need silence to listen to God, listen to his world, listen to what he wants us to do about things, listen to what we are not doing about things.

5.         If we are always making a din, or thinking only of ourselves, we wont learn anything at all.

6.         Using a telephone, I do all the talking THEN

            Quoist's ‘Telephone'  (Prayers of Life p15)

7.         Early settlers in America.  The Indians were watching for an opportunity to attack.  Noticed they were all gathering in a wooden hut, this was the best time to attack.  Crept around the hut ready for the attack.  Peered through the cracks in the walls, the white settlers were all sat around silent.  The silence so frightened them they left them unharmed.  They were ‘Quakers'.

            A few years later the Quaker settlers and the local Indian's became friends and the Quakers learned about the incident.  They taught the Indian's how they used ‘silence' as prayer.  The Indian people understood about it, for they new the importance of silence.

8.         What do we use to listen with?  Our ears!  Do we use anything else to listen with?  How do deaf people listen?  With their eyes!  Read, lip-read, sign language.

9.         I've told you about Nancy, a blind member at my church in Blackpool.  She would say she saw with her fingers. 

            One day a child gave her a beautiful yellow rose with a lovely perfume.  She said that at least you can smell the rose even if you can't see it.  When the child told her it was yellow, she said she could imagine it as well as feeling the delicacy of every petal, of every fold.  She once told me she knew the colour of a rose just by touching it.  She saw with her fingers.

10.       God's words come to us in many ways.  Jesus is known as the Word of God, Jesus tells us all about God.  Do we take time to listen?  God speaks to us through buildings, he speaks to us through symbols and signs (last week sacraments) he speaks to us through other people and the kind of life they live.  God speaks to us in the state of the world and the needs of the hungry and dying.

11.       There is something that happens in the Bible just after the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) which is a story of doing good and loving your neighbour.  Jesus is at the home of Mary and Martha.  Martha is busy doing good, working hard.  Mary is sat listening to Jesus.  Jesus praises Mary, because she is doing something very important, she is taking time to listen to Jesus.

12.       Time to make some noise, sing a hymn, but don't forget to listen to the words while we sing.

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