Silent, Surrendered, Sacred Sundays

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.

Sundays can be a challenge. I don’t know anyone who has tried to faithfully get their family to church that has not experienced the battles that ensue when they are trying to get out the door and actually be on time. We want to get there and present ourselves as whole and put together, but the enemy wants to steal, kill, and destroy, and he tries do to that all before 9 am on Sunday morning. Honestly, there have been days that by the time I get to church, I am spent. I need mercy. I need grace. I need Jesus!

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

One of the things I love most about our church is the weekly communion time. We are encouraged, in Scripture, to stop and remember Christ’s sacrifice for us through the breaking of bread whenever we gather. However, we are also directed to not take the cup in an unworthy manner. We are instructed to surrender our hearts, confess our sin, and have a pure heart before the Lord before we partake in this meal. 

How many of us have sung the song “I Surrender All” without even knowing what we are singing? I did for a long time. And then one Sunday, I really listened to the words coming out of my mouth. They took my breath away and reduced me to a weepy mess. I actually pictured myself saying “I surrender all… except…” Could I really surrender? Did I really want to do that? That would mean I have to forgive the person who called me evil, obliterated my character, or otherwise hurt me. It would mean that I would need to turn my career over to the Lord, even if it meant it was not what ‘I’ wanted. It would mean I would have to surrender my children and trust that He will take care of them even if they are on the other side of the country. This sweet hymn also reminded me that in surrender there is His power and blessing.

For me, one of the greatest gifts of Sunday, is the reminder that I need to be still before the Lord and allow the surrender to free me from the burdens that so easily weigh me down. As I close my eyes in preparation for communion, those burdens flash like a slide show before my eyes. As the thought of each of those burdens enters my mind, I picture myself laying them at the feet of Jesus, asking Him to take them from me and give me wisdom to navigate life. I scan my heart to reveal any unconfessed sin or harbored bitterness brewing. I ask the Lord to cleanse me and renew my mind, and then I enter into a sacred stillness that can only come from experiencing the presence of the Holy Spirit. 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. Hebrews 12:1-3

The songs we sing lead me into the throne room of God where I can express my gratitude for His sacrifice on the cross and for the salvation that is offered through it. Too often, after the cleansing refreshment of surrendering and communion, we are on to the next thing. In church, it might be the offering or special music. At home, it may be chores or a football game. Sadly, we rarely take time to just be silent. 

It is in our silence that we can fully know that He is God. Being still is something we are reminded to be many times throughout Scripture. Being quiet before the Lord is a discipline to learn that is as important as articulating our extensive supplications. 

Throughout the busyness of our weekday activities and challenges, it is easy to get distracted and veer off the path of the cross. Every day we need to focus our hearts on our purpose, to honor and glorify our Maker and be the Imago Dei, the image of God. 

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;  and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. I Kings 19:11-12

Do you feel like you have been shaken up as in an earthquake or a mighty windstorm has swept through your life? Maybe those were for you to notice the silence so you can hear His voice.

Your sacred, silent and surrendered Sunday might not actually be on Sunday, and it might not involve church or the sacrament of communion. You may not have the luxury of an extended period of silence. Your silence might come when you are taking a walk or a bike ride, driving to work, or taking a shower. Wherever you are or whatever stage of life you are in, I challenge you to turn off the noise, focus your heart on the One who created and loves you, give Him your burdens, allow Him to cleanse your heart, and be still in His presence. 

All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly at His feet I bow;
Worldly pleasures all forsaken,
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power,
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

      Justin Van DeVenter, 1896

Scripture for further reading:

Proverbs 2:1-5

John 10:27-28

Psalm 62

Published by Keri Willis

My name is Keri Willis. I am a semi-retired educator. I spent a great deal of my career working with adults with developmental disabilities and many years in elementary education, in the classroom and as an administrator. My main ministry now is coordinating the women’s ministry for our church in San Diego, CA. I have been married thirty-four years and have two grown and married children. I now have a head of full grey hair and good ideas. I believe we are created to use our gifts and to be creative. That comes in many forms for me. I love to woodwork and use power tools, design, decorate, garden, and create new recipes. And I love to write. One major lesson I have learned in my writing journey is that I need to be still and listen to hear God’s voice before I am prepared to put into words the message he has instilled in my heart. This has been much easier since I am no longer working full time, but it is so easy to get distracted and not listen, which almost always ends with an empty page in the form of writer’s block. While I have written many articles for newsletters and local newspapers, I did not consider myself a writer until I self-published my first book, Teapots and Power Tools. The idea emerged as I was working on a project in my garage. I had worship music playing, power tools out and saw dust flying. I glanced up and saw my delicate teapot sitting on my router table. The message was clear. Sometimes we are using the power tools God gives us and sometimes he just wants us to be still and have tea with him. The book became the foundation for a women’s retreat, and then my amazing niece helped me work through publishing it on Create Space (now KDP). At least five other projects are in different stages of production. I joined hope*writers to help motivate me and keep me focused and accountable. I am still trying to figure out the whole website and blog thing. That is my next goal for myself; that and finish writing at least one of my projects! Teapots and Power Tools: Effectively using the tools God has equipped you with, while taking time to “Be Still and Know That He is God”

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