There are times – many, I’ll admit – when I find it almost impossible to explain something about God. The worst is the phenomenon of how God interacts with us. God is an interactive essence, yes, but God is, still, always God.
So once I came up with a challenge: take your worst beef about God, or about the way God does things, walk out into your backyard and pluck a leaf from a tree. Doesn’t have to be the nearest tree. Just a tree with a leaf that appeals to you.
Then, go sit on a bench and have at it.
Tell the leaf all about your complaint.
You’re there. It’s there. What more could you ask for?
(There really is no good way to insert time into a blog, is there? Pictures, yes. Sound, sure (if you know how). Videos. Things that move. Things that move in time. But there is no key to press that when you do, stillness occurs. Time is suspended. An app that gives you time to think. Oh, well.)
Imagine time standing still: HERE.
Meditate on it for a while. Just you and the leaf. Talking it all out.
Japan has come up with a robot therapist. It was designed originally just to screen incoming callers, to determine the level of the severity of the call, and direct them accordingly. But people have actually played with this robot. Tested it out, so to speak. And have actually found it an effective “listener.”
Thing is, the robot can speak. And is programmed with a plethora of responses to whatever it is you say to it.
Leaves can’t do that.
They are silent.
As is God.
God is not just any kind of silent. God is absolutely silent.
Spend more time thinking that over: HERE.
There is something that we, as humans, as walkers and buyers and lifters and singers, miss when we think about silence: we overlook the perfection of silence. The accuracy of its message. Its faultlessness.
When people say they just don’t get God, or that there is no God, my response is always: you think that because you don’t know how to speak silence.
Perhaps, it would be better to say, you don’t know how to listen to silence. And hear what it is saying.
Try something. No, not the leaf again. Church this time.
Try going to church and participating in the mass. Yes, I know you do this every Sunday. But, humor me. And next time you are in church, say the mass. Sing the hymns. Murmur the prayers. Have at it. No sound too small to utter.
Then, the very next time you are in church, stand silently. Listen to the liturgy. Close your eyes and breathe in the music, the voices of the people around you.
Receive the prayers into your mind, your heart, your soul.
Be the silence.
Join with the dust mites dancing in the streams of sunlight caressing the corners above the altar. Hold out your spiritual arms to God and soak in the syllables. The dots. The slurs. The meetings and greetings of tones.
Be God For The Day and hear the petitions. The cries. The praise.
And say nothing.
Just go your way without speaking.
Carry that experience in your heart all the way home and savor it through the rest of your day.
Take a sound break. And see what you hear.
Ah, that’s better.
Now you are with me, I think.
Something that can happen in a silent mass is the awareness that we are being given to, fed, caressed.
We send out the words to God, and if you can keep absolutely still, it is there in those transcendent moments that God’s silence can be caught, captured, embodied.
The language of silence is the act of ultimate surrender. In order to still ourselves before God, we have to let go of our resistance to him.
If we can still hear ourselves in the silence, we know we have failed. That we are still resistant.
Ultimately, the language of silence is the language of love. It is the exchange of perfect acceptance, one with the other.
It is the joining.