Dallas Willard went to be with his Lord this morning. Many people will miss his strong, gentle wisdom, remembering him as someone who was soaked in the presence of Christ. He was a beloved friend and writer to many. We enjoyed publishing a number of titles by Dallas (1935-2013), especially one of his signature books, Hearing God.
years ago I was with Dallas as he led a two-day retreat for a dozen or so of us. In particular I remember his talking about practicing the disciplines of solitude and silence, something he tried to do for thirty minutes a day. I asked him what he meant by that. And he told us.
“And do you pray?” I asked.
“Or meditate or read the Scriptures?”
“Nothing. I just sit. In the presence of Christ.”
very little sense to me then has come to mean more and more to me as the years have gone by. As the pace of life has become more abuzz with activity and stimulation and distraction, I have more and more craved time to just sit, and do nothing, except be in Christ’s presence. It has become a centering, still point in a topsy-turvy world. It reminds me what is important and who is important, what is a crisis and what is not.
As Dallas taught so many, the Sabbath and Sabbath moments like the ones he described are ways of acknowledging who is in charge of the world and who is not. It reminds us that we are dependent on God and not ourselves. Our activity, our work, our intensity are not god. And by resting from those things, we acknowledge who is.
By giving away money we at once blaspheme the god of Mammon and worship the true God. By giving away time we at once blaspheme the god of Activity and worship the true One.
These I gratefully carry with me, gifts from Dallas Willard.