February 2020 (2-29 February) see the Resource Pack PDF for full details including weekly subthemes and daily prompts and Bible readings. See the Discussion Group Questions PDF to see the material adapted for small groups.
Last month we thought about our senses and read the Bible looking for the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and other details we often miss. This February, as we approach the day of contemplation ‘Ash Wednesday', we are going to try a contrasting approach. Instead of looking to fill in the picture, looking for what is present — we want to change our focus to consider what is absent. What’s going on in the pauses, the gaps, the information conspicuous by its absence, in what’s left unsaid? What happens when we read the Bible alive to the quietness it contains, the mysteries. We also want to think about quietness more widely. Christians for thousands of years have used contemplative silence as part of their spiritual practice. The Bible often encourages living ‘a quiet life’. What does that look like? Being withdrawn? Solitary? Dull? Not necessarily…
Perhaps a quiet life is one that is sensitive and open to God and to one another. A life that doesn’t rush to fill all the silences; which takes time to notice others. A life that can pause and reflect — sometimes before taking action, sometimes after — with humility, grace and invention. A quiet life doesn’t have to be a boring one. Many of the most heroic lives in history have been quietly determined. Living quietly can involve the shouts of frustration, the shrieks of joy, and the cries of courage but it also makes space for the whispers of reconciliation, the comfortable silences of love and the searching quiet of a restless soul looking for home.
So from last month to this we move from the major key of our alert senses to the minor key of contemplation — the inner as opposed to the outer journey of our discipleship. As we read the Bible we will look for the silences, the shadows, the spaces where we can breathe and notice things we haven’t noticed before — about scripture, about ourselves, and about our God.
See the Resource Pack PDF for more information including weekly subthemes and daily Bible readings and prompts. See the Discussion Group Questions PDF to see the material adapted for a small group context.