Silence as First Language

“Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. [1 Kings 18:11b-12]

 The winds of change all around us are strong. It feels like mountains are splitting and rocks are being broken into pieces. The earth is shaking and even fires are raging.  Yet, our passage tells us that God is not in the noise and commotion outside of the cave where Elijah is hiding out. God is present in the resulting sound of sheer silence when everything else stops.  Often the noise in our lives and in our world drown out the voice of God. We babble on and on thinking that we know what is right and good, all the while never stopping to really listen to the mystery we claim as God. In the midst of this pandemic, I know have had to be very intentional in my stopping. When overwhelmed by the noise and commotion spewing from all our media sources, I had to turn them off and quiet my racing mind and just listen. I also had to stop all my doing. It is not easy to stop the internal dialogue pulsating through our beings that say we must be productive. Yet, saints throughout the ages have said, “God’s first language is silence.” For in silence, we begin to hear the true hunger of our souls to be one with God and with others.


Speaking God, I admit that sheer silence scares me. If I stop my doing, I fear that I might actually hear you. I admit that I may not want to hear what you have to say to me and how that might change me. Even so, give me the courage this day to spend time in silence so that I might better hear your voice. Amen.

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