Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Silence

As I face the blank screen I am aware of the blessing of silence so apt for a Sunday morning. No whine of air compressors, roar of leaf blowers (that is a week day activity)or even vroom vroom of my neighbors five vehicles being sequentially started and primed through some testing sequence that he knows, but I do not.

Silence is a blessing. My friend who is sailing sent a sail-mail this week about how wonderful it was to be able to see a gazillion of stars, a phenomenon that is usually lost to us because of the artificial light all around us. That email prompted me to remember camping in the high Sierras when I was in my teens. My family went with another family and the silence that summer night was palpable, a quiet so deep that when I ponder it now, I can understand why people are called to be hermits, why they prize being able to move noiselessly through the woods almost as though they are not there.

Big Sur and Point Lobos are two more places where the silence was like a cloak, a gentle presence of its own, inviting us to seek the Presence whom we look for in church. Once in a great while I have experienced that deep silence in church, but usually there is a bustle there as people come in and ready for a service or the sounds of the city impinge on the quiet interior of the church.

Liturgists have argued fiercely about the role of silence in the services they arrange. Those arguments definitely broke the silence in a manner that argued for the silence in themselves! I have always been on the side of those seeking silence. The most sacred moments of the liturgy convey themselves best if we are not asked to "participate" by making some noise--or even gestures. But then, I am "old school"--keep silence in church, keep silence in the halls while passing from one class to the next, or risk detention, keep silent if you don't have anything good or kind to say about someone else. (Silence here can speak louder than words, too.)

I give thanks today for silence and am blessed.

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