Friday, January 27, 2006

The silence and the darkness

I sit on the steps behind the altar with a group of folks on many Wednesday evenings and sing music from Taize [w]. The steps up to the altar are always lit with the big "seven day" candles used for prayer, and a bowl of incense sitting atop the altar sends shadowy billows of smoke up into the highest parts of the building. Beyond that is darkness and, except for the faint echo of voices from the pews, a deep silence.

Over the winter months as I sit in this space, I have often wondered about the significance of the silence and the darkness. It is something I often come back to through out the evenings.

Last Sunday a lady from the parish died. I knew who she was, but did not know her well. She seemed a kind and thoughtful person, with a deep spirituality. I would see her in the parking lot from time to time, and she was always pleasant and always made a point to speak to me. And her death has helped open a door to understanding.

As I sat in darkness this past Wednesday and reflected on the times I had come into contact with this woman, a concept began to unfold for me. That the silence and the darkness represent the silence of the hundreds of voices of those who no longer sing in the building. Of those whose voices are silent until the resurrection of the body. Of those who remain with us, yet apart from us.

And the sometimes dim bulb of my understanding began to glow just a little bit brighter as the thought came to me that we should all praise the Lord with full voice while we can. That one day, our voice, too, will grow silent and dark.

An email from my friend Ernie finished this thought nicely, pointing out that, "at that moment the real singing will begin for us, as we join the heavenly choirs to sing praise for all eternity. Taize, the Mass, and all the other times we sing here and now are rehearsals. And it is nice to be prepared."

Copyright©2006 jdwarrick    

No comments: