The May 6 edition of The Living Church is available online to registered subscribers In this edition’s cover essay, Ephraim Radner reflects on God, music, and silence:

God and music? Or God and silence? Many theologians seem to have come down on the side of silence, for at least two reasons. Both reasons, furthermore, seem confirmed by contemporary cultural realities and assumptions.

The first reason we might tie God’s converting power to silence is a moral one: human silence is required in order to listen to God. As human creatures we are always distracted, caught up in an inextricable net of noise, chatter, and blathering self-regard. To hear God, one must hush one’s inner — and outer — jabbering, born mostly of a kind of narcissism. That is hard to do, of course. There was a time when it was expected, in some churches, that people would be quiet when they arrived for worship; private prayers would be said in silence before the worship began. Frankly, I’ve simply stopped coming to church early on Sundays: it’s nothing but a marketplace of conversation, busyness, and clatter. To that degree, many of our churches mirror the larger world, whose brutal soundscape overwhelms inner quieting with a vengeance.

But, as Martin Buber said, “we cannot talk to God until nothing more is talking within us.” Do we not remember Elijah waiting for the Lord’s message? Entire volumes — for instance, by Michel Masson — have been written on the way God speaks only after the wind, earthquake, and fire have passed and the still small voice of the Lord emerges from the secret quiet of his divine heart (1 Kgs. 19:12).

News

  • Fort Worth Episcopalians Win, For Now
  • St. James the Resurrected

Features

  • Silence, Sound, and the Power of God | By Ephraim Radner
  • Good Book Upstairs, Big Book Downstairs | By Karen Zweifel
  • Thank You for the Music | By Zachary Fletcher

Books

  • Paul’s New Perspective | Review by Gene Schlesinger
  • The Vocation of Anglicanism | Review by Wesley Hill
  • Last Testament | Review by Victor Lee Austin
  • The Gospel in George MacDonald and The Golden Key
    Review by Arabella Milbank
  • Four Children’s Story Bibles | Review by Susanna Cover
  • Darwin’s Doubt | Review by Daniel Muth
  • From Law to Logos | Review by Michael Angel Martín
  • The Dream-Child’s Progress | Review by Cole Hartin

Other Departments

  • People & Places
  • Sunday’s Readings

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