By Elaine Knudtson
“The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!” Mark 4:11-12
Conversion takes place through hearing.
The parable of the sower and the seed repeats the refrain “some hear the word”. Depending on their response, the results are very different: Satan takes it away, they fall away, the cares of life choke it out, or it bears much fruit.
I think of the qualities of a good listener: paying attention, being still, shutting out distractions—like Jesus when he went out to some deserted place by himself. The silent way gives God an opportunity to speak, but it takes courage to open ourselves to the silence.
“The Silent Way” by Elaine
Why do I fear silence?
There are dark pathways I might go down if I listen too closely.
That unspoken churning in my soul could expose
a craving I can’t feed,
a hurt I can’t heal,
a duty I can’t fulfill,
a sin I won’t confess.
The silence reveals the “oughts”, “coulds”, “shoulds”.
It remembers the unanswered questions,
The dark disappointments with God:
Why did this happen?
Where were you?
How much longer?
Don’t you care?
When will it end?
Is there a way through this?
Will it happen again?
Can I trust you?
My God why have you forsaken me?
Silence recounts the blessings:
And your words:
Peace be still
Your sins are forgiven
God is love, and light, and bread, and living water, and new wine, and eternal life.
In the silence you speak.
I walk through the valley of the shadow of my failings, fears and uncertainties,
into your presence.
Take me through that silence.
Hold my hand, so I am not alone.
And give me the courage to wait and listen.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Ps. 4-:1-3
Pictures taken at Vigeland Park in Oslo.