Editor’s Corner: The gift of silence

By Amy Forbus

It takes effort for me sit in complete silence for an hour. But what a gift it was.

The field trip arose from a weekly small group connected with the United Methodist congregation where I’m a member. As we considered the many ways people experience God, one of our number confessed that though she had attended a college founded by the Society of Friends, she had never in her four years there attended a Quaker meeting. Several of us expressed interest, and before long, we had arranged to visit the local gathering of Quakers.

And so, on a Sunday morning at 11:00, I stepped into the circle in the front room of the Meeting House, chose a vacant seat near the door, accepted a tri-fold brochure explaining the gathering, opened my Bible on my lap and waited. Patiently, to my own surprise.

Feeling prompted to turn to the first chapter of John, I read the passage. Verse 16 stood out: “From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.” I don’t know how long I meditated on that verse. But I do know that when someone else in the meeting felt moved by God to share a word on the life and witness of Nelson Mandela, who had died just more than a week before, the message she spoke dovetailed with the fullness, the grace upon grace that I’d contemplated through the words of John 1:16.

It’s an experience I probably could have every day, if I develop the discipline and commitment to doing so. Until then, I receive it as a gift from God through my sisters and brothers who call themselves Friends.

To reach me, send an email to aforbus@arumc.org.