Recently, I rediscovered the benefit of having a rhythm to rest. I tend to push rest down my priority list, behind random emergencies, work and family, community and church. Sometimes, I push it so far down, it falls off the list. Last weekend, I “got off the carousel” to go to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia, with two friends from Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama. We’re part of a Spiritual Formation Group searching for ways to help our congregation move beyond intellectual study and "experience" God.
We went to five services a day, starting at 4 a.m. (appropriately called "vigils") and ending with the "great silence" around 8 p.m. (none of my friends believe I'm capable of great silence except while eating). There was something meaningful and authentic about setting these specific times aside for God, something reminiscent of a bell chiming the hour or waves crashing against the shore.