2011 Advent Devotion- Monday, December 19

Monday, December 19                     
Luke 1:1-25

Earlier this year, I attended the wedding of a close friend of mine. She and her husband are Quaker, and their ceremony followed the traditional Quaker practice of meditative silence as the form of worship. I realized after attending the wedding how infrequently silence is used as a discipline in my own worship context. Silence is a challenging discipline.

When an angel appears to Zechariah, the response we might expect to the angel’s message is one of reverent and shocked silence. Instead, Zechariah double-checks his source: “How will I know that this is so?” He trusts the authority of his old age, rather than the message from the God he has served so many years. The cure for his unbelief is disciplined, muted silence: Wait and see.

The discipline of silence, one valued deeply by the Quakers, is a discipline of limitation. Silence, and its limitation of the human capacity for distraction, allows for a precision of awareness that is otherwise impossible. Zechariah’s story reveals the power of simply waiting in silence as God’s promise is revealed. God’s work of silence in Zechariah is an invitation to a posture of rich expectancy and stillness. In this time of advent, we are invited to wait with silent anticipation for God’s promise being revealed in the world.

God who speaks in silence, still the teeming waters of our hearts and quiet the words on our lips. Make us ready as a people prepared for the coming of the Lord. Amen.

Jessica Hawkinson, student, Master of Divinity Program Princeton Theological Seminary, and member Peace Discernment Steering Committee, PC(USA)
Princeton, New Jersey

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