On Saturday 20th October, six of us gathered at Winbourne in Mulgoa for the first Wind Farm Quiet Day. In the words of a few, they were pretty apprehensive about coming. They weren’t sure whether they would cope with a day of silence but more importantly, they just didn’t know what to expect from the day in general.
As circumstances would have it, we moved into the Chapel at Winbourne rather than being in the Stables .. and this was clearly in the heart of God. The Chapel is a large room with beautiful ceilings, controlled lighting and a stained glass feature piece behind a polished red gum stump that can be used as an altar. We didn’t use it as an altar, but it did work well as a table for the distribution of a very simple communion. It likewise gave a place for us to gather for prayer making for a very intimate setting .. and again, I believe this was in the heart of God.
Y’see, in the mix of the six of us, we had an evangelical Anglican, a charismatic Roman Catholic, two "Angli-costals", an Emerging Church pilgrim and me, a man who’s best known as a prophet and whose public ministry sprang out of the intensity of the Renewal (or, the Toronto Blessing). What a mix!
The use of public and corporate liturgical prayer was a new (but old) experience for me, and one that I never thought I would again participate in because of my previous experience with what I remember to be the lifeless nature of the rigid ritual from my early days in a high Anglican church. However, in putting the liturgy together, I used a blend of very "poetic" prayers, and ancient words of the church such as the Lord’s Prayer, St Patrick’s Breastplate and the Apostles Creed. In praying the psalms, I employed the call and response of the Celtic Christians and monastic choirs. Likewise I used two contemporary litanies and we drank real red wine for communion, allowing the sharpness of the alcohol to remind us of the bitter pain of Christ’s willingness to shed His blood.
At this point you might be asking yourself, "what’s the point of even bothering with a liturgy?" .. and that’s a valid question.
Well, in the same way that the adoption of praying a mix of contemporary and traditional versions of the Divine Offices or Hours, has helped me to find a framework for growth in my daily life, I felt it would be a help to have the day "framed" by morning, midday and early evening prayer .. and it did.
The rhythm of praying these Offices or Hours across the Quiet Day helped to also "frame" the times of silence and solitude. I gave each of those attending the Quiet Day some basic instruction on silence before we each embraced it across the day. I shared how prayerful or monastic silence is not the absence of sound. Rather, it is the restraint of speech and other forms of external communication with others. The purpose of this kind of restraint is so we can bring all of our "internal noise" under control in order to hear the soft still voice of God speaking to us in our hearts.
Across the day, we only broke silence during our times of prayer, over lunch and during times of feedback in the short teaching sessions. As a result, every person, including myself, reported having had significant encounters with God to the degree that they are motivated to adjust their lives to embrace both what they heard from Heaven during their times of silence and what they learned in the short teaching sessions across the day.
By way of personal feedback, I can tell you that, after 30 years as a Christian and 15 years in Pentecostal ministry, this was one of the first times of ministry that I have ever organised or led where I came away more energised at the end than I was at the beginning. It was glorious to come away with a "full well" rather than an "empty basket". If God gives both "seed to sow and bread for food", then my personal testimony of the day was that I sowed all the seed the Lord asked me to sow and I still came away feeling fully fed rather than totally drained.
All in all, I believe it was a wonderful way to begin what I hope will become semi-regular Quiet Days for a long time to come. In fact, the next of our Quiet Days will again be at Winbourne in Mulgoa on Saturday, 8th December. I’ll issue a formal invitation via this site in a couple of weeks time, so, if you’re interested in joining us, perhaps you might like to subscribe to our newsletter in the "Newsletter Subscription" box in the column to your right or just keep visiting the Wind Farm site.
Likewise, I understand that all of those who attended are keen to add their comments to this post, so be sure to read their input if you want to gain an insight into whether attending the next event might be worth your while. And to those who came to our first Quiet Day .. thank you so much for taking a chance by coming. Your willingness to embrace all that the day presented, helped to make it a very rich time.
Grace and peace!