If you're a parent, you probably have experienced that sense of foreboding when you suddenly realize you haven't heard the toddler for about 10 minutes. You rush through the house, checking behind sofas and under beds, when you suddenly come upon him in the bathroom. With the baby. And a sharpie.
Hypothetically, of course.
My children would never.
Silence is a virtue - except when the two year old is awake. You welcome the noise, because echolocation allows you to keep the busy bee in range, and hopefully out of trouble. Sure, the dull roar can fray nerves, but at least it means they're alive.
I love silence. I love the sound of the house early, before children awake, before I let the rooster out of the coop, before the traffic increases and the world around us stirs. I love the evening, after everyone else is in bed, when all the electronics are still, the hum of creatures calms, and the household breathes a sigh of relief after another full day of life. Those moments are when I can think. They are moments when I can pray. They are vital to my own survival.
Oh church - please hear me today. My heart is with you. Family of God, if I had but one moment to speak to you, I would beg you to awaken. Not to go woke. But to wake up! The world is on fire - some of it literally. Our communities are divided, fearful, hurting. Our finances are in trouble, our families are squabbling, our politics are chaotic. And the churches' doors are closed.
We had a moment when it was good to be silent. In March, for a couple weeks, the world closed down. We spent time checking in with our loved ones, considering the purpose of life and what the loss of it would mean. Life got quiet. For those moments, it was good to sit in the silence.
But we must not remain so any longer. We, the church, have the power of God Himself working within us. We, the church, know the One who casts out fear. We, the church, are the hands and feet of the body of Christ. I've been reading through Ephesians, and I am awed that He empowers us to love beyond all fear.
But what is happening in our silence?
Do you know anyone who has contemplated (or committed) suicide? Do you know anyone whose business has folded? Do you know anyone who has been hurt by riots? Do you know anyone dealing with depression or danger from being home? Do you know anyone who has died without family by their side? Do you know anyone who has fallen into addiction to alcohol, drugs, or pornography during this seclusion? Do you know anyone who no longer trusts the police, or the politician, or even their neighbors because they consider them more a danger than a support?
Church, this is our job. This is where we, as the ambassadors of Christ in a hurting world, can step into the gap.
Our silence is deadly.
True, we can take this time to pray. And I'll join you. Indeed, the hand of God is moved when people fast and pray. I don't like fasting - I like food. But life is worth skipping a few meals. We are currently in the 40daysforlife prayer vigil to challenge abortion and stand up to help the women who believe it is their only option. Prayer is powerful. Prayer will and does save lives. If you have considered abortion, or have had one, or think that's the only way out of a tough situation, I'm not here to pile guilt on your head. I'm here to talk if you feel alone, because I get it. I believe your life and the life of that baby both have great worth. So I will pray.
But I will also not be silent.
The Spirit if God in us is stronger than any sharpie in the hand of a toddler - or rock in the hand of a rioter, or order by any fearful governor, or ruling by any supreme court. So we speak out. We tell the toddler no, and take the sharpie. We open the doors of the church so the lonely, hurting, addicted, confused and abused have a place to come home. We vote for the candidates who - notoriously - support life. We put ourselves in harm's way when (not if) necessary, because our life is made to be lived out so that others can experience the love of a Savior who did the exact same thing for them.
I don't tend to write political posts. This blog is primarily about surviving and thriving in motherhood. But how can we thrive if we keep current events separate from our kitchen sink? I dare say that's one of the best altars on which to offer the sacrifice of praise and the petitions of my heart. Home isn't separate from the laws of the land. It is the cradle of the laws of the land. It will be impacted the most, long after politicians leave office.
Perhaps, as Mordecai told his cousin, Queen Esther, God has put you in this place for just such a time as this. Stand for life. Go to church. Support the missionaries. Check on your neighbors. Buy a donut for a good policeman. Register to vote. Check the news - and then turn it off and go play with your kids. Because they're being unnervingly quiet.
And you know what that means.