Thought for the Week, November 5 2021

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And in the naked light, I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence…

There are two kinds of silence.

There is the kind that numbs and kills, the kind Simon and Garfunkel sang about.

It is the silence imposed upon people – that refuses to hear the cry of the hurt, the wounded, the lonely, the unemployed, the hungry, the vulnerable.

Veterans return from wars, and the daily papers strike glorious attitudes. Suffering from unspeakable trauma, they retreat into silence.

Breadwinners lose their jobs, and are condemned to poverty, loss of home, reliance on food banks, endless indignity.

Young people struggle with mental illness; earth and sea, animal and insect life, struggle beneath the load of pollution – and are met with silence.

That silence, the silence of the neon god, breeds lies – lies that threaten our planet, our lives and our souls.

But there is a different kind of silence: a kindly, warm, nurturing silence.

It is the silence of the rich humus of mother earth. It is the amniotic fluid bathing our souls for healing. It is out of that silence alone – the Spirit’s silence – that truth springs, and with truth, justice. And with justice, peace, and the healing touch of love.

COP26 is upon us. Amid all the noisy voices, which kind of silence will we choose? Which kind of silence will we permit? Complicity, or graciousness?

Mercy and peace have met together,
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Truth shall spring up from the earth
and righteousness shall look down from heaven. (Psalm 85)

Reverend Canon Simon Mackenzie, Lochgilphead Scottish Episcopal Church.