Thursday in the Seventh Week of Easter (24 May 2012)
Being Silence, Speaking
The mark of solitude is silence, just as speech is the mark of community. Silence and speech have the same inner connection and distinction as do being alone and community. One does not exist without the other. Genuine speech comes out of silence, and genuine silence comes out of speech.
… There is an indifferent or even negative attitude toward silence which sees in it a disparagement of God’s revelation in the Word. Silence is misunderstood as a solemn gesture, as a mystical desire to get beyond the Word. Silence is no longer seen in its essential relationship to the Word, as the simple act of the individual who falls silent under the Word of God. We are silent before hearing the Word because our thoughts are already focused on the Word, as children are quiet when they enter their father’s room. We are silent after hearing the Word because the Word is still speaking and living and dwelling within us. We are silent early in the morning because God should have the first word, and we are silent before going to bed because the last word also belongs to God. We remain silent solely for the sake of the Word, not thereby to dishonour the Word but rather to honour and receive it properly. In the end, silence means nothing other than waiting for God’s Word and coming from God’s Word with a blessing.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer Life Together (1938) [DBWE 5, p. 83,84-5]