Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer (Mark 14:60-61).
Our culture does not like silence. We do our best in the routine of the day to fill the quiet with noise. We slap headphones on our ears listening to our iPods, we turn the radio on in the car while driving, and we have the television on constantly. We can't even have silence in the elevator as the music is piped in to us.
Many Christians are even uncomfortable with silence in worship. Many people have told me over the years how difficult moments of silent reflection and meditation are for them. We equate silence with dead time, awkward moments when people are not quite sure what to do. There are time when silence is loud.
Jesus stands before his accusers on trial and he remains silent. Even his interrogators find his lack of response uncomfortable. But no one need worry about the silence lasting very long. We will fill the silence with shouts for his death: Crucify him! Crucify him! The silence of the Lamb of God must be replaced with the shouts of human beings taking matters into their own hands. In silence we wait on God and allow God to act; but in the noise we take matters into our own hands. We control what is to be heard and what is to be done.
In the noise we go about our business; in the silence God seeks to intrude into our business. In the noise we drown out the sounds of God calling; in the silence God speaks to us. In the noise we change the subject from God's expectations of us to the ways in which we will live our own lives; in the silence God confronts us with the obligations we have as persons created in his image.
In the silence, Jesus dies upon the cross. In the silence, the word is proclaimed: How much this Jesus loves us!
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I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)