From the Methodist Worship Book order for ‘prayer in the Morning’ (p5) there is a sentence and a response:-
‘The Lord is in his holy Temple;
let all the earth be silent in his presence’
Leaving aside the nusances of ‘holy Temple’ (and no, it is not a church building), I like the idea today of silence. Not in the sense that some churches insist: a silence/absence of chatter before formal worship: noise and chatter is part of life and I have never liked the moves in churches to abstract worship from real life.
But I like the idea of silence in the sense that sometimes our formal worship is a ceaseless round of activity: a programme to get through, so we can all get back to our busy programmed lives. The sense, even for a moment, that I am in the presence of the Ultimate where everything stops. Merton sums it up for me:-