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Lately it has become fashionable for the Lord’s Supper to be set
to music, so to speak. The band must play, the speaker must
speak. At all costs the Christian must not be left alone with
his thoughts. Thinking is dangerous.
Those of an older generation, however, will remember silence at
Communion. In more formal times it seemed fitting to do so.
Perhaps we can see what might be behind that old fashioned
procedure. Just what are the uses of silence?
Disciplining the immature. Kindergarten teachers
will recognize the technique. If little children are hushed
into silence first they are more amenable to listening to
discipline. A kindergarten teacher should always maintain a
cool self-control – which is not particularly easy. “Shushing” the
children makes it easier at times. God does much the same
thing. Though it is fashionable to preach the Word at high
decibels, most Christians know the still, small voice of the mind as
their instructor, too.
Preparing to hear. You’ve heard it at sporting
events, business meetings and many other places. Someone
stands up and yells, “OK everybody, be quiet, Mr. Bigshot has
something to tell us.” It’s hard to make yourself understood,
let alone persuade, when the audience is whispering in private
conversation. The preachers will tell you: they’d much
rather have you listen to a poor sermon in silence than sit there
and critique a good sermon aloud. Silence prepares you to hear
Showing respect. In Great Britain, every year on
November 11th (Armistice Day) at 11:00 AM the nation
observes a two minute silence. This is to show respect to
those who died in Britain’s wars. The original reason for this
was to respect those who died in World War I, which was a deadly
experience. Among British men of all ages, one in sixteen died
in that war – a horrific sacrifice by the nation. You can see
something of the same effect when someone says, “Let us pray…”
Put away the clamor of life this morning, then, and come to the
Lord’s table in silence. If you are new to Christ, come in
silence so that you might accept the discipline of joy in new life.
Come prepared to hear whatever the Lord might have to say to you,
however he might say it. Come in silent respect, knowing that
it was his sacrifice of his sinless life that has purchased eternal
life for you.