Silence is a powerful and often overlooked liturgical element.
1. Silence provides cognitive space for meditation and reflection.
2. Silence connects us to the physical space in which we are worshipping by way of allowing us to hear the room’s ambience.
3. Silence connects us with each other, because even in silence with our eyes closed we have an acoustic awareness of everyone else in the room.
4. Silence connects us with what lies on the other side of the church walls. During silence, might hear the sound of nearby traffic, airplanes overhead, distant lawnmowers, sirens, the sounds of people talking on the street. Rather than distractions, these can be important points of focus and enhance our sense of our connection to the world.
5. Silence is an easy element to introduce into a meeting or gathering outside of a regular liturgy, and it adds a powerful sense of connection.
And paperless songs make a great segue in and out of silence.
Paperless songs allow us to sing with eyes closed, thereby taking us into a more meditative state.
Paperless songs are easily repeated, and repetition also takes us into a meditative state.
If sung a cappella, paperless singing asks the group to tune into each other and into the space, important bits of connection as the silence begins (and later, ends).
When the silence has ended, the use of a paperless song frees the song leader to cue the congregation without visual cue, and the congregation can sing while keeping their eyes closed.
So try introducing silence, and try using a paperless song to do it. Here's a great possible song choice to get you started: Peace, Perfect Peace from Music By Heart. Written by Robinson McClellan and lead here by Marilyn Haskel.