“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.”
Protected and Guided by Love
There’s a lot of noise in the world and the noise can be distracting. But when we take some time in silence, to listen, to God as we would listen to a friend, we can come to know the one who speaks to us.
-Br. James Koester
This week we’re thinking of different ways in which we can abide, both us abiding in God, and God abiding in us. I want to reflect for a few moments on that wonderful section from John’s Gospel about the Good Shepherd.
“I am the good shepherd,” Jesus says. And specifically, “I am the good shepherd”, verse 14. “I am the good shepherd, I know my own, and my own know me.”
I think that one of the ways that which we can develop our relationship with God is to think about our relationship with our friends, our human friends, because I think that has a lot to say about how we can develop our relationship, our friendship, with God. And just as we know that friendship takes time, it takes energy, it takes effort, but it also takes a degree of listening to one another and we can only listen to one another when we’re silent, when I’m silent, in order to listen to my friend.
That’s one of the disciplines, which I think, which for me, is incredibly powerful here at the monastery. People discover the grace of silence and what silence can be. There’s a lot of noise in the world. People come here and they’re often surprised by the silence and what they can hear in the silence. Earlier, in Chapter 10 of John’s Gospel in this Good Shepherd passage, Jesus says that, “His sheep will follow him because they know his voice.”
So I think the question for us is, how can we know the voice of God? For me, we can only know the voice of God, or one of the ways that we can know the voice of God, is through the practice and discipline of silence. As I said, there’s a lot of noise in the world and the noise can be distracting. It can be overwhelming. But when we take some time in silence, to listen, as we would listen to a friend, we can come to know the one who speaks to us.
So I’d suggest that this week you might try some silence. Spend 10 minutes in the morning in silence – no radio, no TV, no headphones. Just spend some time in silence, and see if you can hear the voice of God speaking to you. And in that way, you can come to know God as God knows you.