Today’s post is written by Chris Logan, Pastor of Worship Arts at Community Covenant Church in Lenexa, KS.
The gift of God to the introvert, and from the introvert to his or her community, is the gift of silence.
In 1 Kings 19, Elijah goes up on a mountain to hear from God, and in the midst of a powerful wind, an earthquake, and fire, God’s voice was not present. But then, a whisper, still and small, emerged from the silence that followed and asked Elijah, “what are you doing here?”
To me, that sounds wonderful.
I am an introvert, a fact that has taken me a long time to embrace. But as a new dad for the third time, I’m once again learning the value of silence. I’m discovering how much I long for it in its absence – and these days, it’s absent a lot.
Silence is not just the absence of noise, and I’m finding that silence itself can be active, dynamic … dare I say it, alive, teeming with the presence of God. In silence, we are given a chance to simply be. We are able to rest, to recharge. When we sleep, our bodies repair themselves faster; so too our minds and emotions repair when we take sabbath. Silence is, in a way, the act of growing. In silence, we engage our Creator. Silence is communion, where we eat the bread of presence and drink the life-giving cup of rest.
But silence takes work.
Our world is in the throes of a massive shift; places ever-distant are now connected through the digital world. Media bombards our eyes, ears, and an increasing number of senses with consumer-driven messages. Sleep has become harder and so we depend on caffeine and other stimulants more than ever before. For many of us, our phones and other mediums pull us in a thousand directions at once; we are always awake, always thinking, always working, always productive. Combined with urbanization and the influx of western culture on the world, we’ve created a metaculture of movement, of busy …
… of noise.
Now more than ever, we need silence.
The great irony is that, in a global world, I believe that silence will ultimately prove to connect us more than anything else we’ve done. See, silence is counterintuitive, paradoxical; it is entirely necessary, but it is the antithesis of productivity. In silence, we cannot produce more, and yet we cannot produce without it. It takes silence to have a conversation; in silence, we cannot talk, but we cannot talk without drawing a breath, without silence. Nor can we listen without silencing our own voices. We cannot have the beauty of music without the rest of silence in between the notes.
And isn’t it interesting that the only time we all truly sound the same is in the silence?