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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Faith amid the silence

God comes to us through the cross

Each year in December I participate in a three-day retreat with leaders of other U.S. church bodies. We are in silence for 24 hours of that time.

I have come to appreciate this time for prayer and reflection and this year meditated on the silence of God.

The Psalmist knew God's silence: "O Lord, do not be silent! O Lord, do not be far from me" (Psalm 35:22).

And again: "O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God" (Psalm 83:1).

In Matthew's account of the Canaanite woman's encounter with Jesus, we read that she cried for mercy for her daughter, "but he (Jesus) did not answer her at all" (Matthew 15:23). In a sermon on that story, German theologian Helmut Thielicke said, "The silence of God is the greatest test of our faith. We all know this" (The Silence of God, page 62; Oil Lamp Books, 2010).


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