Life and Beauty Observed in the Time of Silence
By Rev. Alan Mead
On our first trip west we passed a sign saying that we were entering the Mohave Desert. I had been looking forward to my first view of a real desert for weeks as we began to plan and prepare for our trip. I had envisioned sand and stone and barren landscape. I was surprised at the colors and the occasional vegetation. My biggest surprise, though, was when I parked, found a place away from the highway to sit, and was quiet. After a minute or two I began to notice signs of life. I observed little things scurrying nearby, intent on moving from one place to another, probably in search of food. I heard sounds of the wind, very small reptiles, birds and insects.
As I sat quietly I realized how inaccurate my preconceptions were. I realized I was for this moment in one of the most beautiful places I had ever been. Had we simply walked around for a minute and returned to the car to continue our journey I would have missed several minutes of solitude where my soul was refreshed, and also importantly, I would have missed seeing and hearing the small, often hidden life in the desert beyond the road.
As I begin each new interim assignment I find it valuable to take time to listen and to observe the authentic and unique beauty and life within this new to me congregation. I have often attended each worship service before being introduced, without any sign or indication that I was to be the interim pastor. I would sit near the back and allow myself to be still so that I could listen for the voice of God as well as the congregation.