In A Nutshell | July 16, 2021

Reflecting on the ‘Sounds of Silence’

Because it is so rare to experience complete silence in our bustling world today, I was caught off guard earlier this week when I stopped into the sanctuary and heard absolutely nothing. No trucks barreling down Route 250, no motorcycles racing down Old Lincoln Way, no birds chirping in the Serenity Garden, no water running through our pipes, and no vents clicking on and off in the ceiling — just total silence.

I have to admit that I was a little uncomfortable with the “sounds of silence.” After all, there always seems to be some sort of ambient noise in the background. So I took a moment or two to sit down and reflect on the beauty and serenity of silence. My mind was clear — no distractions or interruptions — just me and God and silence.

It didn’t last long. Soon I heard the rumbling of traffic on the roadways outside, and then the birds singing their morning song in the garden. Silence — so sweet and relaxing, but also so rare and so fleeting. We don’t get too many opportunities to revel in complete silence, but when we do, it is wise for us to savor the moment, to clear our mind, and to strike up a conversation with the Lord.

On the other hand, silence in the church isn’t always a good thing. At Oak Chapel and at many churches across the country and around the world, there is too much silence. In many churches, the silence lingers for six full days until people begin to gather for Sunday worship; then the church comes to life again, but sadly for only 60-90 minutes. By Sunday afternoon, the church is empty and quiet and often dormant for another week.

As we look ahead toward fall, I am hopeful that you will join me as we seek to bring new life — and much sound — to the church in the way of activities, mission projects, outreach efforts, Bible studies, youth events, fellowship dinners, and a variety of other initiatives.

Let us become an active, vibrant, and even noisy church where activities, projects, and other initiatives extend beyond Sunday morning. In order for this to happen, we have to develop a vision and prepare a plan to execute that vision. It all begins with prayer and a rekindling of the Holy Spirit within. Let us all join together to “wake up the echoes” and make Oak Chapel a hub for prayer, fellowship, encouragement, inspiration, and so much more. Let us become a popular destination where people want to come to enrich themselves spiritually and lift others up, especially those who may be struggling.

Oak Chapel has not survived for more than 200 years by accident. The dedication, commitment, and vision of our ancestors have ensured a sacred place for all of us. Let us honor their work be accelerating our efforts so that our church not only survives but also thrives for generations to come.

On Sept. 19, we will celebrate “Back-to-Church” Sunday, similar to the rally days of old. In the weeks ahead I would like to ask you to spend some “silent” time praying and reflecting on what God might be calling you to do to reinvigorate the church and reignite your soul as well. It should quite a ride. Reserve your spot now!

Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John

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