When the Lamb broke the seventh seal on the scroll, there was silence throughout heaven for about half an hour.
~ Rev. 8:1
I have often wondered what was happening in heaven the moment that Christ declared from the cross, "It is finished."
Our days are filled with moments that seem to take our breath away. I have begun to limit the news programs that I watch simply because I find that I am left numb, and often asking, "Why," as my breath seems to have left my body. I long for the day when there will be no more sadness. No more death. No more moments where my words and my breath seems to be taken away.
Images flood our minds each day that leave us silent. A young black man lays lifeless on the street of a Midwestern community. Parents are told that their daughter who is only three years old has a terminal illness. A brick is tossed from the overpass on a highway, killing a mother of three children. Images and stories that simply leave us silent.
I have learned over the years that there are simply those moments where there are no words. We are reminded that Jesus' spirit seemed to "groan." It is the same with us. These images and experiences move us in ways that leave us changed.
The earthly hours leading up to Jesus' death must have seemed like an eternity. The taste of sweat, blood, and the dirt in which all humanity had been created from, filled his mouth until he cried out that he thirst as he hung, dying, before a crowd that was anything but silent.
The skies grew dark, and heaven rumbled.
The great cloud of witnesses that surround us must have watched in silence. I can only begin to imagine the shock when Jesus cried out, wondering why he had been abandoned? The same cry we all know in times that leave us silent as well, gasping for the breath that has abandoned us.
There are no descriptions of what God was thinking. God is silent.
Recently while at the bedside of a dying teenager, there was a silence that I cannot describe. The sound of parents surrendering, and watching, as her final breath was released. There are simply no words.
Heaven must have been silent.
For many of us, we can point to a time when we were left silent. I have to believe that in heaven, a place where eternity has no timeline, there exists a moment when all of heaven was silent.
May we discover the sacredness of a moment this day, that leaves us simply standing in our steps. A moment that we meet God. May we be reminded that there was indeed a moment, when Jesus breathed his last breath, and in that moment, humanity and heaven were forever changed.
In the silence, God still is present. In the silence, God is still holding us in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.