Silent Presence

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Here we are on the brink of Holy Week. Palm Sunday is before us.  What memories or scenes stand out to you during this sacred time of year?

As Jesus stood before Pilate during his trial, as the powerful Roman ruler attempted to interrogate him, the gospels say that Jesus was silent. The fact that Jesus remained silent, has stood out to me every time I read it. As a rule of thumb, I am not one who values the courage of those who don’t take a stand for themselves. In this Sunday's text, Mark 15, Jesus seems content to let others invoke their will upon him? As the old spiritual sings, “He never said a mumbling word.” Pilate raised the question –“ Are you king of the Jews?”—but Jesus gave no answer.

The silence of Jesus must have been difficult for Pilate. He can accuse, but not really examine a prisoner who refuses to speak.

In our struggles with God, it is the silence that can put our relationship with God to the greatest test. Job, in his misery, cries out to God asking , “Why?” Through more than thirty chapters of the book of Job,  Job demands an explanation for his suffering . He begs God to meet him in court, to come down and explain to him the point and purpose of his suffering. Through thirty chapters of Job, God is mostly silent.

In a friendship, there comes that point in the relationship when we can be with our friend and not need to constantly talk. It is enough simply to be with our friend. We don’t have to have reasons or answers. Presence is enough.

Perhaps that ought to be our goal with God, to come to that point where we can endure the silence, even relish it, for we have the presence. I think this year I will try to see Jesus' “silence” through a more respectful lens, and offer a prayer for the strong silent presence of my Lord in times of trouble.

Still in One Peace,

Pastor David J. Jensen


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