Let us Ramble: Silence isn’t always Silence?

Yesterday I posted on questions of silence. I was still deep in thought on the subject of silence when I began to work through my readings for the Academy for Spiritual Formation. I was reading through a meditation on Psalm 148 in “Abide: Keeping Vigil with the Word of God” by Macrina Wiederkehr. As I read a portion relating to the Psalm stuck out to me: (40)

“If the fruit trees, the cedars, and even the hail are to give praise, then it follows that there is a way of praising God in which the spoken word is unnecessary. There is a Word that differs from the spoken kind. Sometimes it flows forth in the simple silence of being as shown in the mountains and hills. There is a Word that leaps up in the crackling of the fire, it rides in on the moaning of the wind and in the roar of the wild beast. Could this too be praise? Could all of creation be drawn like a magnet to the divine?”

Could there be a deep truth here? When I think of silence I often think about not speaking, not talking, not singing, and simply keeping my mouth shut. What if there’s a voice that speaks louder than my voice? While Sister Wiederkehr is speaking of the praise found in creation, is there a place where we are called to praise God through presence? As we listen to these wise words, is there a call by God to change the subject?

The 68th Psalm establishes that God is known to be a parent to orphans and a protector of widows. God cares deeply for the desolate and the prisoners. God is the one who is present in the lives of those who are often considered voiceless. If we are to love those whom God loves, are we not called to speak with both our voice and our presence?

Consider the words of James 2:15-16: “If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,’ and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?” What good are our words if they are not backed up by our presence? What good is our voice if we are not speaking through our deeds?

The fire crackles because the fire burns by nature. The wind moans as it blows through the trees because that is what the wind does when it passes through branches. The fruit tree grows fruit by nature. All of these things engage in their behavior by nature. If we are being called to be remade through the power of the Holy Spirit, shouldn’t our voice be raised with love for all the people Jesus’ loves? Shouldn’t our voices crackle, moan, and grow like the rest of creation that reaches out in praise?

2 thoughts on “Let us Ramble: Silence isn’t always Silence?

  1. Here is some of my reflection as I read your thoughts….
    I think the Holy Spirit gathers our thoughts and prayers that are so deep within our souls it seems like silence and sends them up to Jesus and our Creator, like the moaning of the wind, etc… I think we need to learn that we don’t need words to communicate with our mighty God. Right now, these thoughts are deeper than I have words for, literally! LOL!!
    Secondly… your thoughts about presence with “the other” whomever that may be has been on my mind a lot lately. It might be easy to give financially to a mission outreach but our own spirituality takes a deeper step when we actually interact with those with whom we are supporting financially. I think that people don’t always want our money as much as they want and need our nonjudgmental presence. I have lately been frustrated by the giving of finances with the thought that it was enough.
    Well, enough!
    Prayers to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’ve got some really great thoughts. I really like the idea of the Holy Spirit communicating with God out of the depths of our hearts.

      I’m reminded of that movie “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” that my kids love. At the end of the movie, Sam Sparks takes the translation device that Flint Lockwood has made for “Steve the Monkey” and puts it on Flint’s father. As a result, Flint is able to hear clearly the thoughts of love his father has that he cannot express any other way. I guess that isn’t the best analogy because I do not believe God looks at us like a bunch of monkeys or even as a bunch of fathers who can only speak in fishing metaphors, but there is something to be said for our inability to sometimes even comprehend the words and thoughts of our hearts.

      As for the money part, I am reminded of a quote from Grandpa George in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”: “There’s plenty of money out there. They print more every day. But this ticket— There are only five of them in the whole world, and that’s all there’s ever going to be. Only a dummy would give this up for something as common as money. Are you a dummy?” Once again, not perfect, but slightly apt.


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