Let there be silence!
The silence of the countryside:
very early in the morning,
before the chain saws and tractors start up,
where only nature makes a noise.
The silence in live music,
that allows what we hear to breathe.
The silence of the doctors’ waiting room,
filled with troubled spirits small and great.
The silence before a service begins
(you are blest indeed)
a sense that this is a special act
in a special place.
The awkward silence,
when some revelation leaves us speechless,
not knowing what to say for the best.
The world of silence for those who are profoundly deaf:
the imposed silence that can isolate
and look into a slightly different world,
where only some make extra efforts
to breach the barrier.
The silence of an ancient church:
that penetrates, even when the fixtures
are dusty, tatty and look rarely used.
The atmosphere may still have a sacred feel,
a place where prayer has been offered
on cold stone floors.
The silence of a hospital ward (if you are lucky),
time drags, small caring acts stand out,
all the focus on getting better, getting out,
getting back to ‘normal life’.
The longed-for silence
when everyone else is groaning or snoring.
The silence in the shower
cleansing, refreshing our hearing as well as the rest
of our bodies (if you haven’t got a radio as well as
soap on a rope or waterproof headphones).
The silence of sleep even when the
unconscious but active brain is busy,
the silence is still healing the wounds
of our ever noisy world.
The silence of praying before an icon
that can only speak visually
perfectly meeting our attentive
silent prayer-aimed gaze.
The silence of painting, crafting, writing, gardening:
resting the oral sense can intensify
the other senses.
The silence of a burning tower block from a distance,
tragically speaking of destruction and violent
deaths of so many innocents killed
in their own homes;
and the wickedness of those who might
have been able to prevent it
if only the price of peoples’ lives
was important enough.
The silence of working on the computer
with the sound turned off,
receiving and responding through
I paddy tapping and mousing.
The greater silence of monastic daily life:
a vital part of the rhythm that aims to renew
and keep focussed on God.
The joyful silence of love when words are no longer needed,
a look or touch enough.
The final silence
when the dying person’s body
And the silences go on
despite a world of noise and clamour ……
a world hell-bent on killing silence
too uncomfortable, too challenging,
too demanding, too revealing.
and so we live afraid of all the
silence that is or could be
welcomed in all its golden beauty.
The silence of the sea,
only broken by the breaking of the waves and the final
lap of water heading for the shore.
The silence of the religious community,
bell summoned for prayer,
some distracted, some feeling empty,
some very surrendered,
but all united in offering word and silence
to the praise and glory of God.
The silence of reading alone:
with the imagined voice of the writer
not breaking the outer silence.
The silence during the Eucharist
that prepares a way for important
words or action, precious gaps to aid
reflection and re-focusing.
The silence after the music stops:
before the conductor lowers his baton,
a very special time to hold the joy or
sadness of the music deep within.
The silence of totally silent prayer
when the one praying
meets head on with the silence of God.
The rare silence on the radio or television broadcast,
most commentators filling the gaps.
The powerful images that must have
a voice over and endless musak.
The two minutes silence to remember those killed in war:
more powerful than words, songs or marching,
allowing everyone the freedom to
remember in the way they want to,
and yet be united in a shared purpose.
The silence of looking intensely at something beautiful
and feeling our hearts warmed
or mind challenged,
with no need to speak or write
a ten page commentary.
The silence of the stars and of space
when not viewed through a TV programme
full of endless commentary and invasive
Let the stars speak for themselves!
Their silence can speak of how
small we are and how little we still know
about the universe and its silence.
The silence of the elevated host,
the sacred Bread of Life,
speaking louder than bells or organ blast
of the Sacred Presence to be worshipped