Monday, August 11, 2014

Moment of Silence

Too many of us are afraid of the silence. Particularly in moments like these, when it seems like in the silence, all our grief might overtake us. It doesn't have to be grief, of course - it could be questions, fear, doubt, worry, hurt, could be any number of things.

But for the people I call family in my church right now, it's grief. Late Saturday evening, word spread among us that one of our elders and his wife had been involved in a serious motorcycle accident. Our elder is in the hospital with serious injuries to his lower body; his wife never made it to a place where doctors could even begin to help. She died in the ambulance.

And for most of us, the night grew quiet even as the storms raged within. We were all feeling something, at least, those with whom I was honored to talk, but we had no words for what we were feeling. It was a forced silence. Because nobody knew what to say.

We've all had moments of silence. But as Christians, I tell you - we do silence differently. We're not trapped there the way we would be if we didn't have hope. We're not stuck in the silence the way someone is when they cannot hear God's voice. Somehow, over the turmoil, over the noise that is masked in silence, we hear Him.

That's what silence does for us. It brings us to the end of ourselves. We're silent because we've run out of the capability to process anything. We're silent because we can't speak. We're silent because we don't know. And the more we come to realize our own emptiness, the more we are able to feel God's fullness. The more a whisper breaks into our silence. The more it starts to be okay even when it's not okay. The more we, instinctively, start to heal.

It's not magic. No measure of God, at least not as far as I've found, takes away the very real sting of grief. (Or whatever question your situation might be.) We miss her. We don't stop missing her because God is present. We worry about him. We don't stop worrying because God is near. In a perfect world, maybe, but this is not a perfect world. This is a broken world. And today? We're all a little more broken.

There are some people in this world for whom the silence is the end. It's all there is. It's numbness and emptiness and pain. It's a confrontation of nothingness and the very real ache. It is those things for us, too, but it is hardly the end. For those of us living in the shadow of the Cross, the silence is the beginning. It's the place where God begins to speak.

I don't have any words for what we're going through. I wouldn't even dream of speaking for anyone but myself. I don't have words for myself. But I'm not afraid of the silence.

I'm not afraid of the silence because I can already hear the whisper. I can already hear God stepping in, not with answers, but with peace. Not with conclusions, but with comfort. Not with platitudes, but with grace.

So that is my encouragement this morning, to those in my family of faith who don't know what to say, to those of you with another story this morning, with your own tragedies and your own aches - fear not the silence; it is not the end.

It's the beautiful beginning.


Teresa's Well: In honor of Teresa and the countless hours of ministry she served with the homeless population in Indianapolis, we are going to continue collecting Bibles and blankets to place in the hands of those who need them. We will be partnering with the Community Meals program, Wheeler Mission, and members of the congregation who will help us in getting these items to the right people.

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