Quaker Silence

In March of 2014 I decided to experience a Quaker silent service. The church I attended traced its roots back to 1699. The meeting house I sat in was built in 1823. The service had no minister. I sat in silence with 100 others. We sat for one hour in a simple room. It had only benches, windows and wooden floors. 

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On three different occasions, three individuals broke the silence with a thought that Jesus wanted them to share with the community. (Quaker silence is filled with holy expectation. The Quakers anticipate and expect that Jesus will show up.) Then back to silence.

I heard the rain gently hit the windows. I listened to human sounds: coughing, sniffing, breathing. The wind blew outside despite the indoor silence. The wooden floors creaked. I heard my thoughts. Sometimes I had no thoughts, just the spaces between thoughts. The meeting room was a container filled with peace, love, community.

Of course God is in the noise too. It feels good to be silent. We need silence. It nourishes our souls. When we are silent we are naked before God. We empty our mind of its thoughts and emotions. We let God’s loving gaze shine directly upon us. I do this as part of my daily centering prayer sit but have never done so in solitude with a group this large.

At the end of the service we prayed for one another. We greeted each other and passed the peace. We are meant to have silence. Silence with our God. Silence in community is powerful! We need silent community! I enjoyed my Quaker experience. I must do it again.

To learn more about Quaker Silence check out my review of Holy Silence by J. Brent Bill.




1 thought on “Quaker Silence”

  1. Awesome experience for me, too, Rich! My good friend is a member at the Quaker meeting place here in town. What a peaceful, prayerful place of community. I loved attending the meeting. I’ve had the blessing of going there twice. 🙂

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