Words can only create communion and thus new life when they embody the silence from which they emerge. As soon as we begin to take hold of each other by our words, and use words to defend ourselves or offend others, the word no longer speaks of silence. But when the word calls forth the healing and restoring stillness of its own silence, few words are needed: much can be said without much being spoken. – The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen (page 41)
To us it seems that God speaks all the time. If I lived when Jesus lived I’d realize that God hadn’t spoken for over 400 years. The belief of the desert fathers was that God dwells in silence, so it was this silence they sought to be close to God. Maybe their world was just like ours and most of the words they heard and even the words they spoke worked against the creation of community.
God’s Word is associated with creation. Most of the words we are surrounded by and immersed in are all about destruction. Rare are the words that create. Maybe silence is more essential to building community than it would seem at first thought. Maybe we need to spend more time in silence listening for a creative word from God.
And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” (1 Samuel 3:10 ESV)