stay awake

Jesus said to his disciples, “so, could you not stay awake with me one hour?”

For the first time in my 76 years, I am staying awake with Jesus. I signed up for the vigil that began immediately following the Maundy Thursday service, and will end at noon on Good Friday. I have the 4:30am – 6:00am shift.

Leaving my home I was gifted with an extraordinary moonlit sky.

On entering the church, I “heard” silence.

I am surprised to find it welcoming. I expected to be uncomfortable in this place, alone, in the dark hours before dawn. To be honest, though, I am a bit disquieted when I hear a quiet bump.

I’m reminded of a podcast I heard some months ago. It was an interview with acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton. His passion is to record and find places that are quiet. The quiet which he sets out to capture is not silence, but rather the quiet that is created by the sound of pure nature, void of any and all manmade noise. Hempton considers a location to be quiet if he can listen to the sounds of nature without any manmade interruptions for 15 minutes.

He believes there are only, at most, 12 places in the US where one can go without hearing any human caused noise. He will divulge only three: He names The Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Park in Minnesota, and Haleakala National Park in Hawaii. I’m fortunate to be have been to the Hoh and to Haleakala. I can attest to the silence of the Hoh.

It is in this quiet space I now find myself. I do believe I have had a couple of 15 minute periods without any manmade interruption. Imagine that.

I’m behind in my daily psalm reading, so I’m using this time to catch up. From March 28, I shout for joy because of the work of your hands.-Psalm 92:4. The Reverend Barbara Craftan talks about when you stop seeing the beauty around you because you see it every day. She says wherever you are right now, there is something lovely you have stopped noticing. Stop. Look. Enjoy.

So here I am in the beauty of this silent place as I stay awake with Jesus, listening to the silence.

Reading just now from the Book of Common Prayer: O heavenly Father, who hast filled the world with beauty: Open our eyes to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works; that, rejoicing in thy whole creation, we may learn to serve thee with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all things were made, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Well guess what…. I got to spend an extra hour with Jesus because the 6am shift folks never showed up. They have no idea what they missed.

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