This past week as I was helping my daughter practice her violin, I found myself discussing with her the importance of silence in music. “Yes, Julia, the rests are very important – you can’t just skip over them. They must have their full value...” While she didn’t quite understand the finer points of my “speech” on the importance of silence, she at least grasped that it is something about which we should take great care.
Our discussion reminded me on how important silence is – not just in music, but in our worship, and in our daily lives. For me, I find myself thinking about silence the most during Eastertide. For me there is something unspeakable, even unsingable about the power of the resurrection.
In worship, we know that words alone cannot express the fullness of God, so we use nonverbal elements in our worship to complement the spoken. We use music to open our hearts and help our community lift praises to God, pray, and proclaim God’s Word. We use actions in our worship, such as gestures, ritual movement, dance, drama, along with our visual and architectural environment to communicate and enhance the words and music they accompany. But we also use silence. Perhaps it is here where we have our deepest encounters with the Holy.
Silence in our music, worship, and life is more than a pause. It is a time for the prayers of the heart, a time for deep listening, a time for being still in the presence of God, allowing us time to reflect on t