Hear the Silence of Lent
Lutherans love paradoxes: saint and sinner, law and Gospel, time and eternity. One paradox that I look forward to each year with particular relish is one of my fundamental Lenten paradoxes: sound and silence.
On Ash Wednesday, until Easter, we put away our “Hallelujas!”, our shouts of joy. We remember that we are dust, that we come from dust, and that we return to dust when our body’s life on Earth is done. We carry the dust of the stars, the ancient minerals that have traveled billions of miles over billions of years and come to rest in our own very animated existences, animated by the breath of life and by God’s own holy breath, the Holy Spirit.
I have come to love the step back from frenzy that Lent invites. This fast of 40 days, whether literal, as was the case for Jesus, or spiritual, as is the case for many Christians throughout the world and across denominations, invites the faithful to squeeze out some of the noise and hear the deeper voice of God underneath.
Hearing silence, bordered on either side by sound, is a particularly delicious and affecting paradox. I will work to hold more silences during our worship time together. These silent times invite breaking, activity, sound to fill the void. If you are led through silence to sound, follow that impulse, and see it for the activity that it is—how the urge to make sound is calling you to break your fast from sound.
Listen for the sound of your own breath; see within it God’s breathing, in and out, quietly or raspily, slowly or quickly. This silence calls attention to the Holy.
How do you experience sound and silence during Lent? What are your Lenten paradoxes?
Bless you each day,