By: David Burnet
The silence after God’s Word is not empty. It is a dynamic, pregnant silence. You can hear it after hearing God’s holy Word.
Hearing and listening into, (some might say leaning into) that dynamic, pregnant silence actually makes it easier to hear what else God has to say to you. First, you experience more of the Presence of God. Like the presence of a friend, only much, much better.
First, you will hear through scripture, then an even more personal Word without scripture - or if it is a quote from scripture that comes to you as a message, you do not have to read it or repeat it to yourself. You are hearing how it comes to you, through a silence full of the pregnant silence after a Word from God.
Here is how it may work for you. And, oh, if all you get is the experience of more of the Presence and friendship of God being with you - this also is a wonderful win.
The Presence of God is an experience that is never an empty silence, or the emptying of your mind. Some people have been taught that this is the goal of contemplation, and taught mistakenly, taught badly, have been taught wrongly.
They are correct that we are not to empty our mind. We are not seeking emptiness. We are instead seeking and personally experiencing the dynamic, pregnant fullness of the Presence of God that is so easy to experience after hearing God’s Word from scripture.
So...we start off with a passage from scripture. Reading it slowly, several times. Savoring it, savoring the experience of doing this.
In Hebrew, the word for meditation means to mumble, to gently repeat something from Scripture that God says. His Word in Scripture is eternal.
So find a scripture, especially something good that God says, a phrase that speaks to your heart and that blesses you.
Read this Word from God slowly…gently…savoring it. God’s Word is eternal. So, you are repeating and saying to yourself what God said in scripture, which is eternal - being a sacred Word from God.
This eternal Word from God that you softly and gently repeat to yourself a bit slowly, savoring it - is not only something God said that is written in scripture. It is, because God said it, an eternal and holy Word.
It is God’s Word to you, now, his eternal Word that you are softly, slowly and gently repeating to yourself.
You are engaging in the ancient method and means of doing sacred meditation on the holy and eternal Word of God as the ancient Hebrews did. From the Bible.
This eternal Word is not just something written and preserved in scripture. This dynamic, eternal and holy Word is also a Word for you and to you - now.
This is, in effect, a Word from God to you, in the present. A personal Word to you, from God. An eternal Word, to you - in the present moment. Now.
God’s holy Word, to you, spoken in the present moment. Gently, slowly, savored by you in this present moment.
You are quietly saying this holy Word again and again in this present moment - you are engaging in an ancient Hebrew practice of meditating on God’s Word, spoken to you. Personally. God’s holy and sacred Word, said to you, in this very moment, in the now.
As you continue, notice how when you pay close attention, you sense and feel a dynamic, full silence. A remainder, if you will, of God’s Word spoken and softly said again and quietly again, in your present moment.
This is not an empty silence, is it?
This is a full, pregnant silence.
As you continue, gradually pay more and more attention to this dynamic silence, you “hear,” better and better, a pregnant silence full of an experience of the Presence of God.
In and through this dynamic stillness, this Presence filled quiet, through what you may experience as a sort of Still Center, comes a Word from God. Afresh, in the present moment, a now Word or in Greek a Rhema Wordfrom God. Spoken wordlessly, in your heart and spirit, in and through stillness, in a more personal way, to you.
This is hearing a Word from God. Aligning with scripture, personal, to you.
Your spiritual director or spiritual friend will be able to guide and help you do this for yourself. Hearing God, more and more. Better and better.
If this interests you, be sure to ask about this. If you want, you can share or refer others to this article so they are clear and more certain what you are talking and asking about.
Regardless, enjoy your practice. This ancient practice has lots of side effects, which another article will be about. Before this one gets too long.
Enjoy your practice, which will help you and be good for you in so many ways, and through which God will richly bless you.