Thursday, March 26, 2015

Silence (PrayerLife)

Snowing on 3/26/15 in Monroe

March 26, 2015.

It is snowing, softly and silently. Does a snowflake make a sound when it lights on the ground? How much silence is needed to hear snow fall? Today's silent snow produces silence within me. My heart is quiet before it. This is good. Because...

Without silence there is no hearing. Life without silence would be constant noise, without rest.

Silence is essential to music. Silence is music. There is a sound that silence has. At the end of Handel's "Messiah" there is a pregnant pause, a rest filled with glory. How long will the conductor hold us in this silent place? In the pause we realize that something beautiful is about to be born. The pause, the musical rest, speaks volumes. Silence is hope and expectation. Silence is longing for fulfillment.

Silence is filled with meaning. Timely silence speaks for itself. Swiss philosopher Max Picard writes, "Silence contains everything within itself. It is not waiting for anything; it is always wholly present within itself and it completely fills out the space in which it appears." (Max Picard, The World of Silence, 18)

When he opened the seventh seal, 
there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
Revelation 8:1

Silence speaks where words fail. Without silence there are no words. Heaven's half hour of absolute silence makes me want to speak something, or cry, or beg. Silence in heaven. You can't hear yourself breathing, you can't hear your heartbeat,there's no sound of bodies shifting, no tinnitus, the perfect recording studio where all sound is contained and packed away for the kairos time.

...a time to be silent, and a time to speak... 
Ecclesiastes 3:7

The Handels of this world live in the dialectic of presence and absence. The God of this world speaks a single word - "Shabat!" (Cease!) - and the discerning shut their mouths. 

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; 
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, 
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent
so he did not open his mouth.
Isaiah 53:7

Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
Mark 14:61

Silence is a healer. In silence, He healed us. Thomas Merton wrote: "The ears with which one hears the message of the Gospel are hidden in a man's heart, and these ears do not hear anything unless they are favored with a certain interior solitude and silence." Merton, Thoughts in Solitude, 13)