People assume that silence and peace can be simply harnessed together, silence as Xanax for the soul. But that's not how deserts work.
My words feel small. Like I’m trying to beat back the ocean with a stick. I could command the waves to stop, but the sea will keep pounding the sand. Recent world events have generated a lot of fodder for preachers and writers, and yet I have nothing to say.
There are specific and cunning temptations in silence that, if allowed to flourish, can fester and rot the whole enterprise.
I don't settle automatically into the silence of solitude. At first the silence can be as startling as noise.
“Silence gives me freedom in both real time and psychic time. When I talk less, I see more. And silence gives me time to pray.”
All deserts are silent, harsh and beautiful. Sinai adds its history of God’s dealings with humanity. It’s a holy place where the veil is lifted.
When a child is ignoring basic responsibilities, parents rely on a well-known parenting technique to make a point. Mom looks her ten-year-old in the eye while holding a toothpaste tube in one hand and the cap in the other. “This is called toothpaste,” she says, “and this is called a cap. They go together.” The Lord God is not beyond impatience and remedial instruction when people need a reminder about neglected responsibilities. God held a basket of ripened summer fruit beneath Amos’s nose and said, “Amos, what do you see here?” The prophet, sensing that God was serious, didn’t bother joking. “A basket of summer fruit,” he replied. With that brief exchange, strangely similar to a parent remedially instructing a child, the doors opened to a flood of divine wrath.