Perhaps you've seen the YouTube video of the experiment: two groups of college students, about three per team assemble in a hallway. One team in white shirts, the other in black. During a one minute video, they pass the basketball back and forth within a few feet of each other. Observers are asked to count how many times the players in white shirts pass the ball and ignore other passes. About 30 seconds into the video, another student dressed in a full-body gorilla costume, strides into frame, faces the camera, pounds her chest and leaves - about a 9 second walk-on cameo. The observers are asked to report the number of passes they counted and then asked, "What did you think about the gorilla?" Fifty percent of all observers reply, "What gorilla?" A newly published book by the researchers who conducted this experiment, "the invisible gorilla" looks interesting, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet.
The power of the Holy Spirit was dramatically manifested on Pentecost and described as a driving wind, tongues of fire, miraculous speaking in tongues and transformation of the apostles into bold evangelists. We may surely experience such powerful manifestations of the Spirit in our lives, but the urgings of the Holy Spirit are just as often described as whispers, breezes, intuitions, subtle signs. If we keep distracted and busy every waking moment, how in the world will we be able to discern the Holy Spirit in our lives when we all have a good chance of missing a full grown gorilla?
Prayer, contemplation and silence sensitize us to the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, even small amounts of it each day.
A wonderful one-act play of C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters has returned to off Broadway at the Westside Theatre. A senior devil is tutoring a junior devil on how to tempt a human "patient" to whom he has been assigned. In one of the monologues, the devil discloses how dangerous music and silence are to their diabolical cause and that neither are permitted in hell. Noise, noise, noise!! Screwtape Letters Off-Broadway
Without prayer, contemplation and silence we're as likely to miss the Holy Spirit as we are to overlook a chest-thumping gorilla.