In the silence
Ecclesiastes 3: 7 (NRSVA)
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
Anyone who has been married as long as I have knows there is a time to speak and a time to be silent! What a passage to pick for Valentine’s Day…
I don’t really like Valentine’s Day. It’s not because I associate it with incredibly hard work from my time working in a friend’s floristry business. Nor is it because of the overpriced restaurants or the assault on the senses caused by the abundance of cheap and nasty cards. The reason I don’t like it is because it seeks to redefine love as something narrow and exclusive. It elevates romantic love to a pinnacle where it, and only it, matters.
Proper relationships are about much more than love — and, of course, they are not exclusively about romantic partners. Real love is about compassion, patience, kindness and it never counts the cost. If only someone had been inspired to write a Bible passage along those lines…
My main objection to Valentine’ Day is that it takes God out of love. But without God, there is no love. Maybe Jesus isn’t on most people’s minds on Valentine’s Day, but any consideration, or expression, of love is fatally flawed without God being at the heart (even an oversized furry red one bought at the last minute).
And that’s why this verse is so powerful. If we want to understand God’s meaning of, and God’s part in, love, there’s a time to talk, or write, about it. There’s also a time to stop and be silent. God seems always to be reaching out to us. In the noise and bluster of our lives, we mostly don’t hear and we certainly don’t listen. But when we remember there is a time for silence, that’s when we hear the roar of the Lion of Judah. Which means it’s maybe time for me to stop writing.
Lord, give us silence so that we can hear you. Give us space so that we can fill our world with your love. Give us words of love to speak in your name. Amen.