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Sacred Silence  

You've heard the expression, “there was an awkward silence.”   Or... “There was an uncomfortable pause in the conversation.”  Increasingly, I'm noticing that ANY silence is awkward for most people.

Imagine eating out a restaurant...without music blaring in the background.  Heaven forbid we should actually be able to hear each other converse without straining.  (By the way—exactly what IS the advantage to it being so loud that you have to yell to be heard?).

Or try to imagine shopping in a store without a pulsing pounding musical background that's really in the foreground.  

But the assault on solitude has likewise infiltrated the church.  Take communion service for example.  I've probably taken part in communion in 50 different churches.  And almost every single one of them features music as the bread and juice are shared.   This is supposed to be the time when we follow the exhortation of 1 Corinthians 11:28 to “examine ourselves” lest we fail to discern “the Lord's body.” 

I'm not suggesting that music in the background at communion is wrong.  But I am suggesting it's a problem when we can't NOT have it.  When we can’t just have silence....and pray. 

The reality is, we're so used to getting into our cars and turning on the radio...so used to hitting the health club with our ear buds and smart phone or mp3 player...calm is no longer calming. We have so jammed and crammed our lives full of iTunes and iPhones and iPads, there's no room left for “I pause.   I ponder.”  And  silence—valued as “golden” in previous generations--is seen today as a rusted relic.  Just plain awkward.

But how can we expect to “Be Still and know that God is God” if the soundtrack of our lives is always pumping?  How can we learn to meditate on the Word of God...when we've already allowed other background sounds to compete for part of our meditative focus? 

We need a return to quiet.  Planned pauses.  Sacred solitude. 

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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