Craving a break from the crowds in Jerusalem, I headed outside the city to find The Garden Tomb.
This is the “Protestant” site of Jesus’s death and resurrection. No joke, there’s a sort of Catholic site and a Protestant site. This further adds to the reasons why I will not be getting Jerusalem Syndrome.
This place was my favourite in Jerusalem out of all the “religious” sites as it is a garden not a dark, imposing church.
It’s provides an escape from the craziness of the city or should do if it wasn’t for the Christians! I hadn’t sat down for 10 mins when along came an American youth group and a Korean church group complete with pastor types who proceeded to compete with who could preach the loudest.
Since watching the BBC ‘s documentary The Big Silence (a monk takes 5 people away on a silent retreat to teach them the beauty of silence. Trust me it’s good) I’ve been trying with varying degrees of success to switch off more and spend short amounts of my day being silent. I’ve found that I connect with God better and it is more refreshing than watching Netflix or Facebook stalking.
Our modern churches are so packed with noise and activities that we are in danger of losing how to connect with the still, small voice of God. At times I think we’re more like the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18), hoping that by all are frenetic activity and self-flagulation, God will pay attention to us and be more inclined to answer our requests.
Not every time is a time to speak. Mist times we need to listen.
Everyone connects with God in a different way, but silence is a discipline, something we practice and will get better at.
This past year I have been visiting one of the Quaker meeting houses in Belfast. There’s no coffee to worry about, there’s no correct PowerPoint slide to frantically find, there’s no 3 point sermon to pitch at just the right level, there is just a space to be in the presence of God.
I’m not advocating the end of all music and prepared sermons just a healthier balance. But coffee is bad for you so that’s not quite off the table. It’s perfectly fine to not do those things more than once in a while. God won’t mind. The earth will not spin off her axis.
A quiet space to sit is sometimes all we need.