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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'Let all the earth keep silent'

In our Advent quiet, we can hear God

In our once frozen-chosen Lutheran church, the folk choir jazzes up the Advent hymns, drums beat, trumpets blare and the congregation sings during eucharist as if quietly receiving this gift from God weren’t holy enough.

Don’t misunderstand. I love the drum’s rhythm and the trumpet’s bray. We are, after all, admonished to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. But in these days of anticipation of our Savior’s birth, where is the silence?

The early-winter world outside my rain-spattered study window is noiseless, blanketed by heavy clouds. A battered truck roars from the fog to collect yesterday’s accumulation of trash. The dining room in our retirement community is raucous because the elderly, too, need to communicate. My wife’s voice daily grows softer. My ears become less acute. Perhaps God is telling us, “When your hearing is gone, maybe you will finally pay attention.” My God in stillness waits.


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