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Friday, 18 December 2015

It's oh so quiet...


The time is around 3am, and as I'm writing I'm sitting in my Church with my feet up trying to stay awake...don't worry I haven't broken in!
I'm here as a volunteer as part of a winter night shelter programme for rough sleepers in my city.

I'm writing, not to blow my own trumpet, but because of the amazing sense of peace and tranquility that is present here...despite the many difficult and varied situations our guests face everyday; there is peace here and it's oh so quiet; so far...

I've been thinking about this sense of peace, this is the only time that my Church is this quiet and relaxed; I belong to a relatively big church and Sundays can be hectic as I guess most churches are. Although space is always made during the services to be quiet before God, it isn't quite the same with lots of people around.
The lights in the worship hall are off, there's just a dim light from the street lights outside making the place look almost a little eerie, our band and choir are nowhere to be seen; all the trappings are packed away; and all through the church 'not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse'.

It reminds me of this quote from Roald Dahl's the BFG:
'The witching hour, somebody had once whispered to her, was a special moment in the middle of the night when every child and every grown-up was in a deep deep sleep, and all the dark things came out from hiding and had the world all to themselves.'

Darkness is not always so peaceful; a couple of years ago one of my friends (ironically the same friend who's with me tonight) took my wife and I on a weekend of hiking in Wales...during this weekend we climbed Tryfan; a mountain in north Wales. I've included a picture; perhaps it's not the biggest mountain in the world; but a good hike regardless and here in the UK we're very proud of our mountains, whatever their size.



Due to a late start and very (very) bad weather (even for Wales!) we lost the path as night closed in. Now, if anybody has ever been stuck on a mountain without proper equipment and supplies as it's starting to get dark, then you will know it's not fun! Fortunately after a bit of Adventuring we eventually managed to find the path, just before we lost the light entirely and although it meant a tricky and dangerous journey back to camp, we at least knew where we going... Despite some of the path being more like a river! But I realised later, when looking back that during this time, this is when I needed God's peace more than ever.

So mountain climbing in the dark while unprepared is not so much peaceful as it is terrifying... But back to my night shift at church...it's so nice and valuable to be here and experience my church away from the hustle and bustle that's usually going on, it makes me realise how important these quiet times of peace and tranquility are during my busy life and I guess the lesson for me is that, throughout life and at especially at this time of year, as Christmas is only a week away, to take regular time out and make room and time out for God and allow His presence and peace to rest on all of us, and especially during the busy, hectic and sometimes scary times.



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