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Sunday Reflections: The sound of silence

Simon and Garfunkel recorded “The Sound Of Silence” in 1964, later popularized in the 1967 film, “The Graduate.” Simon explained that he retreated to his bathroom and turned off the lights to write the song, and this explains the line, “Hello darkness, my old friend.”

However, the sound of silence is often not heard.

We used to call it “elevator music”–the musical track played as we go to the floor of choice. But today we have sound everywhere. Most waiting rooms have TVs tuned to courtroom dramas or sports events.

I visited a local hospital recently and the receptionist was completing a call to maintenance.

“The TV isn’t working in the cardiac waiting room and the family is upset,” she said.

So here was a family with a loved one in dire circumstances who couldn’t forego noise for even a short while.

Speaking of waiting rooms, have you noticed how people take phone calls and “share” them with the rest of us? It used to be that people would step into the hallway to make calls. We often exhort church members before worship, or attendees at a funeral, to turn off their phones. I conducted a funeral last year at which a man’s phone rang three times.

My wife decided to make breakfast a few months ago, and she does a good breakfast. But she had Dr. Phil shouting on the TV. I told her to please not worry about breakfast anymore; I would pour my usual Cheerios and eat in silence!

An alternative to a blaring TV is to read good books. Remember how the librarian taught us to read in silence as she “shushed” us into submission?

Silence is important in seeking God.

The psalmist wrote, “Be still and know that I am God.” Habakkuk exhorted, “The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silence.” John the Revelator said that in heaven there was silence for 30 minutes when a seal was opened.

How can we seek God in silence in a noisy world?

Many Christians have a special place and time for Bible reading and prayer. A friend uses his back porch for morning devotions. Great saints of previous generations wrote about rising early before the world grew noisy to spend time with God. I’ve also known Christians who schedule devotional time later at night after children are asleep and the house is quiet. And churches have prayer rooms available for quiet time with God.

Seeking God in silence is important. It helps us to focus on spiritual truth rather than the pablum of popular broadcast entertainment. And in the silence, God has promised to fill our hearts with his loving presence.

“Reflections” is a weekly faith column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church, Alabaster, Alabama. The church website is siluriabaptist.com.

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