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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Silence 3

Today I'm reading Psalm 32:
1 Blessed is the one 

whose transgressions are forgiven, 

whose sins are covered. 

2 Blessed is the one 

whose sin the LORD does not count against them 

and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent, 

my bones wasted away 

through my groaning all day long. 

4 For day and night 

your hand was heavy on me; 

my strength was sapped 

as in the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you 

and did not cover up my iniquity. 

I said, “I will confess 

my transgressions to the LORD.”

And you forgave 

the guilt of my sin.

There is a time to be silent, but scripture also shows us that there are times when silence is the wrong choice. Three come to mind:

1. We shouldn't be silent about our sin. Not that we talk about it with everyone we see. Haven't we all been in groups where someone didn't know how to filter! (TMI - too much info). But before God we should not be silent about our sin. Regular confession keeps us honest. Keeps the channels clear. Redirects us and gets us back on track. Unconfessed sin festers and spreads like poison through our system. Root it out before the Lord. Talk to him. It's not as though He doesn't already know! So, it's for your benefit to go to him.

2. Psalm 30 says we shouldn't be silent about praising God for what He has done for us.
8 To you, LORD, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy:
9 “What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, LORD, and be merciful to me; LORD, be my help.”
11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
LORD my God, I will praise you forever.
That reminds me of one of the praise songs we sing in church: "I will not be silent. I will not be quiet anymore."
Also, I think of Jesus when he rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and was greeted by the praises of the people. The Pharisees told Jesus to shut the crowd down. Jesus said: “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40). So it's good to praise Him.

3. We have a responsibility to speak up when we encounter injustice and to defend those who cannot protect themselves, especially children. Psalm 82 (and many other passages) show that God desires that we defend those who are oppressed.
3 Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
To be silent when we know someone is being abused or to go mute when someone is suffering unjustly is a terrible form of cowardice. God wants us to intervene - to act on God's behalf for that child, that widow, that person.

So let's not use silence as an excuse to ignore our sin, or to not praise our God, or to neglect the protection of the needy. In pursuing silence as a spiritual discipline - that doesn't mean you pull your head into your shell like a turtle and just let the rest of the world go by. We stay engaged and attune. The silence keeps us on track to face the places where we should make some noise!


Today's prayer:

Deep relief, that's what I know I'm needing,
Sweet release from all I've locked inside.
A full reprieve from all my fears and worry.
I long to feel the part, where love expands my heart
And I no longer need a place to hide.

Move in slow, so I can hear Your breathing.
Take my hand so I can know Your touch.
Just to be inside this silent stillness---
My heart has no defense to offer up against
The endless ache of opening this much.

You know what is happening to me,
Hold me close so I can let my soul be free.
Move me beyond the other side of hope,
Where everything that's possible can be.

I'm on fire, You see it in my face,
I'm alive with the splendor of Your grace.
I welcome You to join me in this space
To join my journey on today's quest, to love my very best;
And live within this intimate silence.

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