Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Out of silence ...

Given the Easter season I have been thinking - as have others - about the ending to Mark's gospel, the empty tomb and terror. How out of the silence of the empty tomb comes resurrection. So often clergy feel the need to fill the silence rather than let it be for a while. What is our problem with the void, why do we need to fill it?
Talking about the gospel, remembered Bible and narrative theology with Janet on the phone tonight I realised that allowing silence, letting silence happen, being comfortable with it and uncomfortable with is in some way allowing the resurrection to happen. If you fill the silence the other person may never speak. If you always fill the silence the other person may never pray.
I'm also thinking back to our conversation about both of us feeling reticence about "branding" the church. Janet even told me about how she had once asked a group she was doing Bible study with to tell her what the Jesus' gospel brand was. "Not one of them came up with 'The kingdom of heaven is like...' you know. There was a load of stuff about organic niceness though."
Thinking now after our energetic conversation - try getting a speech therapist and an interpreter together to reflect about silence, I promise you there won't be a dull moment - and about the empty tomb and the late industrial obsession with branding, with getting our name out there, I wondered whether the idea of branding isn't sometimes silence that's broken far too early. An inability to let things become, to let content or the idea speak for and prove itself.
Anyway, my conversation with Janet had its hilarious moments as she read out words in German for me to translate, all about the difference between remembering and memorising, remembering and the study of history.
Then in the silence of my remembering I remembered that I began my day reading this via David Ker's blog - "A brave man's words keep his memory alive". Sometimes it's vitally important that not just the story but also the text gets handed down to us - for us to be able to remember.
Out of silence ...
"Gibson Elliott made an impression with his clear mission to bring peaceful change to his battered nation. 'I just can't work with people who kill people,' he said. And he didn't, no matter what."