As we come to this time of Lent, I want to share with you something that I found in one of my regular devotionals – There is a book called “Poustinia” by Catherine de Hueck Doherty in which she describes a practice by Russian Orthodox Christians of setting aside time for God. “Poustinia” is the Russian word for desert or wilderness. It is traditional for a Christian in Russia to set aside a room in her house, or a cabin in his woods, to be used for prayer and meditation. One goes there for 24 hours, taking only the Bible, bread, water, and a simple straw mattress for sleeping. That time is devoted to not just reading or studying, but listening.
Listening is a lost art – possibly because we do not spend much time in silence. We have our TV’s or radios or podcasts on all of the time. When is the last time any of us just sat in silence? When is the last time that your church encouraged you to “do nothing”?
Maybe we are so unsettled because we have not “settled” – we have not taken the time to actively listen. Our world tells us that sitting in silence is wasting time (and time is money!), but our faith tells us to “Be still, and know that I am God.”
What if we created POUSTINIAS in our own homes and in our church, for ourselves and others, places of silence, prayer, and hospitality with the Lord? If we do this for a period each day – 5 minutes, 10, maybe even an hour – what might we hear from God? – Rev. Bill