When your tongue is silent, you can rest in the silence of the forest. When your imagination is silent, the forest speaks to you. It tells you of its unreality and of the Reality of God. But when your mind is silent, then the forest suddenly becomes magnificently real and blazes transparently with the Reality of God.
The parish gathering at Cathedral Ridge last week reminded me how much I love the silence of the forest. Walking among the trees and rocks calmed me. Hildegard and other saints note God’s green-ness – the life we see in God, reflected in the green life of plants in the forest. I suppose that is why I so love the botanical gardens in Denver -so rich and beautiful.
These last, waning days of summer present an opportunity for us before the frenetic banter of fall schedules in America. There is a cost to our being so rich on a planet of poor people. Of course, most of that cost is borne by those poor people. But the cost to us is the pace we must keep in order to maintain such a ridiculous, perhaps even scandalous, standard of living. What would Jesus think? I shudder to wonder.
But what Jesus thinks of silence I know. He went into it. In the darkness of the mornings, he went into the silence. Sometimes a pillow for rest with God. Sometimes an anvil to be hammered by God into something useful. But always silence was where Jesus went.
And that is our invitation too; to turn off the cell phones and the televisions and the pagers and the radios and simply rest in a God trying to say “You know, I really like you. I want to be with you. Can you just put that down and be with me?”