The Sounds of Silence

by Ken Dale

Psalm 46

While the real beginning of summer is still a couple of weeks away, last weekend was the official beginning of summer. I am looking forward to the last weekend of June when I will receive the gift my two sons gave me for Christmas ? a long weekend of fly fishing up north of Greenville. My youngest son Jeff has gotten to be quite the fly fisherman. I remember when he first followed me in my love of it all, how quickly he picked it up and made it his own. Especially in his teens, I used to love watching him cast ? it was in every sense of the word poetry in motion. He now has possession of all my fly tying stuff and is quite the avid fly fisherman knowing far more than I ever thought of knowing about this wonderful sport. One thing I love about fly fishing is the quiet and the solitude. There were small ponds up north I used to go to and spend an entire day casting for trout ? and if I never saw one ? well, it was just ok ? the quiet and solitude, the silent presence of wildlife and wonder of nature around me were then the gift of God. What a gift we have in God?s creation!

Did you hear the Psalm that was read? God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. And it goes on to speak of mountains shaking which of course leads to people shaking, and waters roaring and foaming ? and people do that too. But it continues saying that God is in the midst of it all ? and will help. It?says when God utters God?s voice the earth melts. It speaks of God who has wrought desolations in the earth, making wars to cease! But then?in the next to last verse ? verse 10 ? ?Be still, and know that I am God.?

Be still. I can?t help but think that means to let God speak in those quiet moments ? especially when life gets pressured or chaotic. I think of Jesus who after the death of John the Baptist took his disciples off to a quiet place. I think Jesus was a person of utter tranquility because he talked often with God and was in tune with God ? in harmony with God (got to love those musical images) ? despite all the tensions and pressures in which he lived. Jesus knew the importance of the sounds of silence.

This morning I would simply invite us during sacrament of Holy Communion, that we be in touch with that sound of silence and be with God ? and be with God who came to us in Jesus Christ. As you sit with a piece of bread in your hand, pause to give thanks for the gift of life?and the one who gives life and sustains life. Is there any other response than profound gratitude? Let us remember the institutions that make him alive for us ? the church, and maybe our experience of Sunday School, or the study and fellowship opportunities we have shared in the context of church throughout our lives and now. Let us remember the people in our lives who have made Christ come alive in our lives ? parents, pastors, teachers, friends and others. As you hold the bread remember those people by name and give thanks to God for them and?for who they simply were. In that silence ? as God hears us giving thanks for those who helped make us who and what we are and will become, may we also be listening to hear God.

As you sit with the cup ? the cup of blessing ? be it grape juice or wine ? remember Jesus called it his blood and blood is life. Again you hold a symbol of life, and mysteriously the presence of his life. Remember that blood cannot give life unless it circulates, unless it?flows. Remember that we are part of his body and that we contribute to?the ongoing life of Christ in this church, community and world. May we drink it with a healthy and joyous determination to be alive with Christ and for Christ so that Paul?s words are made real in our lives ? ?It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave?himself for me.?

Therein lies our spiritual strength both as individuals and as a community of Christian faith.