Extra Grace Required - Sacred Silence
April 11, 2017In my family, we like to create traditions. One tradition my grandchildren especially like is, after seeing a movie or play each person gets uninterrupted time to say what they thought of the production. The only rules are, no judgment on the comments and no interrupting. We played this tradition out after a particularly powerful Passion Play that was so dramatic in its presentation, one felt they were really part of the story. When the time came for me to share my thoughts on the play I was awe-struck, stuck in a kind of sacred silence. I had entered the story as a 21st century believer and it caused me to pause in silence to consider what the story meant.
The Gospel accounts of the Passion of Jesus vary. The one that is considered the most problematic for folks is the Gospel of Mark. Mark’s Gospel ends abruptly with the disciples being told to go and tell the Good News that Jesus lives, but instead they leave in fear and silence, telling no one. I understand this response, I mean, who could believe such an unbelievable story let alone tell others, without seeming crazy. Yet, they did tell the story after pausing in silence, entering the story in their own way. That same invitation to make the story our own is available every Easter but rather than rushing to repeat someone else’s interpretation of the story we can pause in sacred silence to tell the story in our own way.
I am not sure I would have understood pausing, or the value of sacred silence if I had not started a faith integrated yoga practice. Yes, using asana to prepare the body for meditation is one lovely outcome of yoga but there is more. The more is when we become comfortable with silence autonomously. When that silence creates space for the sacred, it allows our story to meld with God’s story, a story of love, life and renewal. The limb of yoga that connects best is samadhi, awareness beyond thinking, union with God. People get skittish when we talk about union with God even though Jesus regularly talked about union with God as the outcome of his mission. What happened in the Easter narrative was the desired relationship God created us for, union with God, was a forever fulfilled promise through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Death cannot separate us, union and relationship is ours for the taking.
We are Easter people! We hear the story every Easter. Perhaps this year when we hear the petition to go and tell the Good News that Jesus lives, we can pause in sacred silence letting go of fear, step into relationship with God in a new way and trusting God to tell the story again through us.