If you read much of this blog, you know that hymns are always in my head. God speaks to me through hymns more than by any other means. Lately, my thoughts have been about silence. During my meditation this morning, the words of a hymn which we no longer sing came to me. It begins, "God Himself is with us, Let us all keep silence." It always struck me as peculiar when we sang that hymn years ago that we sang enthusiastically about keeping silence, even as we were doing anything but, and that after singing the hymn, we went busily and noisily about the service of worship. The masculine reference to God with which the hymn begins is bothersome, too, but there is a great truth in these first lines. We cannot hear the voice of God if we are not silent and listening for it.
Each Lord's Day, as we participate in worship with others, i am looking for the presence of God with us, for a "Sabbath rest," as Whittier says, that conveys the spirit of Jesus in the midst of worship. Silence is a rare commodity, and i often think as i play for a service about whether my playing is leading others to listen for the voice of God in the worship service or whether it is a distraction that calls attention to itself and the music rather than to the presence of God.
Silence is such a wonderful gift, and we all need to experience it more, i believe, both in our private lives and in our lives in fellowship with others. My prayer for you and for myself is that we will all know the blessings of conscious, sustained silence at least once every day.