August 24, 2020
Complexity of Silence

by Alan Frutchey
"The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” - John 3:8
Silence is my go to place. Seeking refuge from the noise, the world’s and my own, I find a spot where distractions and volumes are muted. Sometimes, it is a space of my own creation. It can be virtual or physical. Once, while roaming upstate New York with my wife, Martha, we came across a place of exquisite silence. Cranberry Lake. It is in the Adirondacks. We came up on the lake by accident, pulled into a small parking area, left the truck and walked to the only picnic table which rooted at the water’s edge. Sitting down on the table top, the sun was creating a shimmering movement that was transfixing; coolness rising up and blending with warm light, water bugs darting across the surface leaving miniature ripples studded with white and blue diamonds.

There was not a single human-made sound to be heard. No motors, voices, planes or chimes. With eyes closed, you could still “see” the wind move around the lake by listening to the air, moving from one area to the next, making the only perceptible ramble as the hardwoods graciously received the wind’s words and then moved them along, sharing the true voice of nature with us. Real, encompassing, wisping and then gone.  So awestruck and humbled, I realized that as I followed the wind’s advance around the lake, I had been holding my breath. I didn’t want my exhale to divert my hearing.     

This “lake-top” experience has never left me. It reminded me of what Jesus told Nicodemus, “God’s Spirit (or wind) blows wherever it wishes. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It’s the same with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” The Holy spirit moves without a human sound. It moves around and then through you leaving you changed. You may not recognize the change at first. Yet the effects, the white and blue diamonds, will begin to leave their brilliance on the darkness that was once how you used to be. 

The Darkness doesn’t understand hope, justice, mercy or humility. The Darkness can only pervert what it can’t extinguish into that which it can recognize, something without meaning, community, and weakness. If you are from the south, you know about Kudzu. It grows fast. Starting at the edges of a forest, it will completely consume it, rendering the forest inert, dead, leaving grotesque silhouettes of what was once a pastoral poem. Hope’s strength is recognizing the darkness and its debilitating corrosion. Moreover, Hope knows how to defeat the darkness. Hope makes no excuses. Hope transforms obstacles into stepping stones and moves forward towards the light gaining strength with every step. Hope is the “weed killer” against the spread of darkness. The blue and white diamonds are the dazzling deposits of the Holy Spirit which bends all the colors into the many facets of Hope.

Lift your face, feel the warmth. Now get up and behold your rebirth.
"The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light." - John 1:5 Amen.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009