by Associate Pastor Jen Shenk



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


Some of you may have heard me share reflections this past Sunday about our family’s trip to Michigan’s Headlands International Night Sky Park, and how that experience of contemplation was personally powerful. I’m so grateful that many of you have shared varying responses with me. Some have expressed enthusiasm for trying contemplation. Others have asked “how do I do this?” and, in addition, some have shared concerns of “what if my contemplation turns into inaction?”

I get Richard Rohr’s daily emails, and his latest ones have been on this exact topic of inner silence. I share some of his thoughts with you in his own words, as he says it so much better than I can:

Silence has a life of its own. Silence is not just an absence, but a primal presence. Silence surrounds every I know with a humble and patient I don’t know.
The soul does not use words. It surrounds words with space, and that is what I mean by silence. Silence is a kind of wholeness. It can absorb contraries, paradoxes, and contradictions. Maybe that is why we do not like silence. There is nothing to argue about in true inner silence, and the mind likes to argue. It gives us something to do. Yet true interior silence does not allow you to take sides. That is one reason contemplation is so liberating and calming. There are no sides to take and only a wholeness to rest in—which frees us to act on behalf of love.
To be clear, the kind of silence I’m describing does not ignore injustice. The opposite of contemplation is not action, it is reaction. We must wait for pure action, which proceeds from deep silence.

Silence can be a great teacher, if we allow it. In the space and the quiet, we can remember who we are, and who God is. We can connect to our deepest self and to one another in a way that goes beyond words and leads to a deep, centered knowing.

May you find ways during this season of Epiphany to create regular times of silence, stillness, and times of “doing nothing” so that you can remember who you are-- BELOVED. Hang out with God, and see how God’s light already shines in you (and in everybody else!). Once this becomes a starting point, then it is out of this space of centeredness that our light can shine as we serve one another.

Be still.

And then... SHINE!