The Loud Silence (a week of soulful reflection)

carolyn-v-546925-unsplashThere is something that grabs me with almost an aggravating intrigue about this last week leading up to Christ’s Resurrection…with an almost deafening stillness. Have you ever considered those last hours of Christ’s life? It comes around every year with such familiarity that we are possibly tempted to overlook its deep, rich implications.


Phillip Yancey wrote: “How can we who know the outcome in advance ever recapture the dire end-of-the world feeling that descended upon Jesus’ followers?”   What is called Passion Week almost slows to an eerie beat of a bass drum.   And, the gospel accounts appear to slow down to give more description together in harmony than they do the birth or resurrection of Christ combined. There are no interruptions of miracles or spectacular happenings. And, amidst the crowd and clamor of those hours, you can almost hear the beating of Christ’s own heart.


Listen – hear His weeping over Jerusalem as he approached it; hear the water as He poured it, trickling into the basin in order to wash His disciples feet; hear the kiss on His cheek by His betrayer; hear the slap across His face and the pull of His beard; hear the 39 lashes across His back; hear the pounding of the nails in His hands and feet; hear the forgiving words from His mouth; hear the “no response” from the Father… HEAR THE SILENCE…that nobody else could hear.


“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It had to be, in the soul of Christ, the loudest of silences…


It is my personal conviction that spiritual leaders can’t lead effectively without periodically stopping along the way to hear the silence of what this week is all about. Only when we reflect to experience His sufferings can we lead others toward freedom. Because there is so much theology in between Christ’s torment and His triumph, we just can’t let this week fly by and not allow it to dramatically impact how we lead. So, engage the habit of reading the Gospel accounts of His sufferings this week…and listen.


But you’ve got to get quiet.  I mean, this reflection doesn’t happen in passing.  It takes the deliberate, scheduled slowing down of our souls.  Richard Foster, in his book Sanctuary of the Soul, writes, “Worship can be fully valid when there are no thrills or flights of ecstasy.”


Before we get ecstatic again over an empty tomb…, let’s pause long enough this week to hear the loud silence…in the heart of the LAMB…the SAVIOR…who knew what a week of passion meant for Him. He knew it, because He walked into that loud silence…like a lamb to the slaughter…who, the prophet Isaiah said, was “oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth…”   Our leader was silent because He was willing to endure the loud silence.

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