Some of my riches experiences of God have been when I have disciplined myself to be silent before God, but I have never pondered God’s silence. The following guest post beautifully tackles that very subject. The Author, Rev. Jim Freeman, is a colleague in ministry and has been a friend for over 10 years. You can find out more about Jim and his blog following the post. With no further ado here is Jim’s guest post…
Listen to the Silence
One of the evening psalms for today offers what I might call an auditory conundrum. “To you, O Lord, I call; my rock, do not refuse to hear me, for if you are silent to me, I shall be like those who go down to the Pit” (Psalm 28:1). What exactly does the silence of God sound like? Is it like the sound of one hand clapping, or a tree falling in the forest when there is no one there? Is it like the quiet of a library, or the hush of a school building when the day is over and the children have gone home? The homecoming parades I marched in during high school used to pass by a hospital at which point the instruments quit playing and the drums simply marked a soft tap, tap, tap so we could keep cadence. Surely the silence of God is not like that.
The psalmist knew, or at least thought he knew, what the silence of God would be like. It was the experience of separation, of descending to a place where the love of God was only a memory. It meant being cast off, as the wicked are sent away and left to their own fate. How deeply the psalmist felt the need for what one writer calls, “a living mutual relationship with God.” And so the psalmist prayed, with arms outstretched toward the temple, and beseeched God to listen and to respond and to not be silent.
Silence can be a good thing, of course. When young children have been a little wound up the soft sounds of their sleeping comes as a blessing. But silence can also be a draining experience, can leave us feeling lost or lonely, can remind us of our need for others. And with arms outstretched we lift our prayers to a God who does indeed listen, and who indeed responds, and who is capable of breaking the silence of our very souls with the knowledge of the divine presence. “Blessed is the Lord, for he has heard the sound of my pleadings. The Lord is my strength and my shield…” (vs. 6-7a).
What does the silence of God sound like? At the end of the day we have to answer that question for ourselves. But whatever the answer may be, it cannot mask the fact that God cares for God’s people like a shepherd for a flock, that God hears our pleadings, hears our prayers, and in ways that we cannot fully understand responds to us. God’s silence then is only an illusion, for the sound of God is really the sound of our being.
Prayer: Lord, hear us when we call to you, and bless us with the knowledge of your presence, for it is in Jesus’ name that we pray. Amen.
ABOUT JIM FREEMAN
If you enjoyed Jim’s post I hope you will take a moment to visit his blog, http://dailylectionaryreadings.blogspot.com. His blog is a thoughtful reflection on readings from the “Book of Worship: Daily Prayer” of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Jim is also the author of “Gravity Has Brought Me This Far: Collected Writings” which available on amazon.com. “Gravity” is a collection of poems, shorts stories, dialogues, lyrics, scenes, and flash fiction written over a period of years.
Thank you Jim for guest posting!