The Rev. Geoffrey Butcher, Priest-in-charge Trinity Church, Russellville

The irony of the spiritual journey is that it is often more and more about less and less. That is, the task is not to build a tower to reach the heavens to make a name for ourselves and to reach the gate of God. That was tried in the story of Babel, and the result was a confusion of many languages. (Genesis 11:1-9) No, the task is often not to build but to release the soul from all that encumbers it. Our initial thought for undertaking a good work is to build, to create, to do and to achieve. With enough energy and will power this works. In so many of our undertakings in life this is the way to make a difference for the good of others. But growth in the spiritual life can be quite the opposite. Instead of memorizing doctrines, catechisms, and Bible verses, we often need to back off and simply be silent to listen. A relationship with God is not about being busy. You may achieve a good project for the community in the work you do, but if you seek a personal relationship with God, you need to give God quality time to be with you. It is like any love affair. If two in love are only busy together without time to be with the other in a personal way -- to be quiet in listening moments, the relationship will not have the opportunity to become intimate. There won't be any cuddle time to hear each other's heartbeats -- to touch and hold hands.

A relationship with God yearns for the same sensitivities. Doing more and more becomes a distraction, when less and less drops the façade of the self to be vulnerable to the Beloved.

This journey is more than a pilgrimage. It can be a willingness to let go of everything -- not to travel in a search, but to be found by God in a simply setting. The Beloved yearns for quality time to be alone with us -- to speak gentle thoughts, not relying on creations of our own consciousness, but surprising us with thoughts from a transcendent consciousness speaking as if from eternity -- to pluck our heartstrings. It is in letting go of more and more that we become less and less, and one with the Divine Spirit.

Paradoxes are usually true. It is often in nothingness that God is found. A single star illuminates our path. It is as if a magnifying glass focused the light to kindle a flame in one's soul. You learn that you don't need a carnival to celebrate your joy. You simply need to be -- in the silence -- surrounded by Love. Less becomes more.