Friday, February 6, 2009

Appropriate Silence

"Peter did not know what to say. They were very much afraid." Mark 9:6

I am a photographer, and I love nothing more than to go walking with my camera, looking for the way light moves and reflects, watching for odd juxtapositions and other freaks of nature. And sometimes I look for nothing and the images find me and overwhelm me. I can do nothing but record them with my camera, breathless by beauty, silenced by awe. Sometimes it just happens that the only response to the magnificence or terror is silence. Not some made-up controlled or contorted silence, but the silence of listening to the music of the Creator's universe, the infinitesimally small and grand expressions of God's love for all creation. I have been known to accidentally "shush" my shutter as I click away in the pregnant charged air caught in the midst of raw beauty. It is a song in itself, this silence.

Peter, James and John go up the mountain with Jesus. He has dragged them along to some impossible and challenging places. He has challenged them by telling them of impending death. Their worlds are completely unsettled, and they chatter to one another as they go about the state of things and about their own anxiety. Into the middle of their anxiety comes this remarkable, transforming moment - the transfiguration. Jesus was changed in their sight and Moses and Elijah appeared in his presence. They had a brief glimpse of the profound beauty and magnificence of God's order and creation - the universe centered and revolving in love. They were finally and appropriately speechless. They took in the Creator's expression of love and nothing more need be said.

Today, I want to linger in appropriate silence in response to the magnificence of God's love in my life. I know I can do nothing to earn this love and this magnificent creation. God has placed me here, and God will guide me through the darkness, the shadows and into the light. Around every corner there will be visions in creation of the presence of the loving Creator. In the grind of daily life and the busy-ness of the world this is easy for me to forget. And so I pray today for a quiet appreciation of all the beauty that surrounds us. May we all rejoice as we take in the love that spares no cost. Love that is next to us and around us, even on the meanest, coldest days of the year. Love that wanders with us in our darkness, waiting to give us new vision of life renewed. May we rejoice in God who is love, alive with us, right here with us, today.

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