The sound of thin silence


The Times Saturday October 8 2011

Geoffrey Rowell on the mystery of faith

‘In the story of the prophet Elijah, fleeing in despair from the tyranny and apostasy of  King Ahab, God reveals himself not in the storm and whirlwind, the earthquake and fire, but in “a still small voice” – or, as the Hebrew may more precisely be translated, “the sound of thin silence”. It is this silence, almost the absence of God which awes Elijah into worship.’

‘The great leader of the Oxford Movement, Edward Pusey, said that, “it is not in proportion to the clearness of our perception, that mysteries have their force”; rather we must recognise that, “it is not the things which we know clearly, but the things which we know unclearly which are our highest birthright”.

‘Or as Leo the Great and St Ambrose put it much earlier, “What was visible in the Lord has passed over into the mysteries”, and therefore, “I find you in your mysteries”.’

I liked the way the subject of this article mirrors the Matthew Parris’ subject which I presented in the earlier post.

The apparently untamable force of nature as the backdrop for the real actor: the thin silence that’s the reality behind mysteries.



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