But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer.—Matthew 26:12
It's hard enough to keep quiet when we are accused of something we have done, but it seems impossible to be still when false accusations are lobbed our way. We want to lash out at our accuser, assure them that they have wrong information, that they are being unfair, that we don't deserve their questioning or their wrath. It even seems foolhardy to remain silent, because it feels as if the silent response is the tacit confession of our guilt. Imagine your soul as a still pond, and accusations as rocks being thrown into the pond. The rocks certainly cause disturbance to the water, but they have no lasting power to change the stillness that was there. After they have caused their agitation, the water is able to return to its stillness—to its reflection of clear glass. Our insistence on proving our innocence or defending our rightness only keeps our soul agitated. It has little effect on altering the opinion of the ones so sure we are in the wrong. So, when we are not guilty, we would do better to sit in silence for God's grace to move in and through the situation, so that we can return to peace. When we are guilty, we would do better to admit our guilt, apologize, and let go so that we can return to peace. Jesus knew the only way to maintain his peace was through silence. We might find our own souls more settled if we chose the same response.
Gracious God, when words of defense want to scramble unbidden to my lips, let me choose stillness instead.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Lent Day 37
I have been subscribing during Lent to a daily on-line devotion from Signposts. Like many of these daily readings, whether in print or on-line, many times I read them and they pass by, moving through my mind with nary a ripple. Other times, however, they make me stop and take notice. I feel as if God is speaking rather clearly to me through them. Today's reading, by the Rev. Canon Renee Miller got my attention: