I recently reflected on the ministry of the Rev Richard Cole, broadcaster, one-time pop singer and recently retired parish priest. He has now written a detective novel, “Murder before Evensong”, featuring Daniel, a vicar as the sleuth. I have not read this, but very recently an extract was published in the Church Times, which I have slightly adapted below. Daniel is about to say Compline, one of the services the Church of England took from the monasteries and incorporated into the Book of Common Prayer. It is said late in the evening, when all the joys and tribulations of the day are done. (Once a week I say this service over Zoom, if anyone wishes to join with me).
“He opened [his prayer book] but he needed not the text, for the order was always the same and he knew it by heart. As an invariable prelude he said silently the Jesus Prayer ‘Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner’. Each petition was slow, measured, geared to his breathing and as his mind and body stilled [the arguments of the day] began to fade from his thoughts. And in the vacated space silence unpacked itself and through the static and hiss, a deeper silence came like the depths of the sea”. (Sarah Meyrick, Church Times, 17-6-2022).
I pray to hear the deeper silence.