One of my new
favorite silent spaces is the chapel at First
Presbyterian Church in Lincoln, Illinois. This photo
was taken during an evening prayer session by an
in the church. It is our hope that this space can be
place of rest and contemplation for our members and
Psalm 62.1—1 For God
alone my soul waits in silence; from God comes my
In the woods at the place where my parents live,
there is a tree.
It stands tall.
Branches full of leaves in the fall.
To hug it would require 3 or 4 of us, locking hands
and reaching around its sturdy trunk.
It stands straight, stretching high into the
From a distance, if you know where to look, you can
see this mighty tree rising above the rest.
As a child, this tree was a place of relief and rest
for me. On hot summer days I’d weave and wander
around thick brush so I could disappear beneath its
spacious shadow. I’d listen to the birds squawk
while the leaves sighed under the rare summer
breeze. During the winter, when the exposed branches
of the tree was draped with white snow, I would lean
my back against the wide trunk, sitting perfectly
still, hoping I would see the elusive red fox or the
darting white tail deer.
I named that tree ‘Rex’ as in ‘T-Rex’ because in my
young mind it stood tall like one. Under that tree,
I found much solitude. Though each of us 4 boys had
our own room, this tree in the middle of the woods
gave me a space I could truly call my own. I could
go there whenever I wanted, to be alone with my
thoughts, but could still hear my mom yell for me
when it was time for supper.
Little did I know that the practice of sitting in
that space, under this tree, was my first encounter
with silence and solitude.
disciplines of solitude and silence are beneficial for all people
who seek to be intimate with God. They allow us to answer a call,
present deeply in the center of our heart. Every person born on this
earth is called to find and realize him or herself, not only in
discovering the love God has for us, but discovering how we access
and participate in this love as it is present in the world. When we
attend to God’s presence within, we will begin to see the holiness
in the world around us.
This work can be difficult. Distractions abound daily. That is why
it is essential for us to find “at least one room, or some corner
where no one will find you and disturb you or notice you. You should
be able to untether yourself form the world around and set yourself
free, loosing all the fine strings and strands of tension that bind
you, by sight, by sound, by thought, to the presence of other
So, what is your silent space? Where do you retreat when you are in
need of rest and relief?
Whether it is under a tree named ‘Rex,’ or at your kitchen table
early in the morning, remember that outward silence opens the door
to inner silence; and inner silence is the silence of the true self
And it is that self, in that moment, when we become fully alive to
May you find peace in the silent spaces of your days.
Holding you in prayer.
[Adam Quine, First Presbyterian Church, Lincoln]