Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sabbath and Silent Salvation

The silence is deafening. No mighty wind, no earthquake, no fire... just silence. Sabbath and silence. "Be still, and know that I AM God." Why is it that I find the silence so difficult to dwell in? It could be that the culture around me saturates itself with busyness and sound and activity. But, I am coming more to realize that this is not even the issue. The difficulty with Sabbath and silence is that I have to come to terms with myself. I come face-to-face with myself, with my finitude, with my creature-ness. My world is re-oriented... but not around me. I find that I am lacking, insufficient, and inadequate. In short, I'm not God. I have come to the end of myself and have entered fully into the silence. It is in this silence that I hear the still small voice. "Be still, and know that I am God." In the fire of that silence, I am changed, purified, and humbled. I am creature, fully human. It is not because of what I do but because of who God is. Like Moses, I find myself on holy ground in the middle of the mundane desert of life.. Like Isaiah, I find myself a sinful man in the midst of a sinful world needing God's transformative work in my life. And, all too often, I find myself like the disciples sleeping while I should be praying. To be honest, silence is difficult to enter into fully because there is always the probability that God will reveal Himself and may change us. We drown out the still small voice, hoping to muffle the call of the Holy One. Change is rarely something we chase after and accept willingly. We inundate ourselves with noise and activity because to enter in Sabbath silence means we might meet God and be called to a new life. But, we are comfortable with the old way. We want to be God. We want to call the shots. We want to be in control. But, it is only when we recognize our created-ness and center our lives upon our Creator that we become fully human and fully present. It is only in this that we become truly free. Sabbath re-orients us, reminding us of who we are and Whose we are. We leave the noisy productivity of Egypt and walk into a desert dependence upon God.

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