The Paradox of Lenten Silence

by The Rev. Br. Richard Edward Helmer, BSG

From the March Perspective,
the newsletter of the Church of Our Saviour:

For my reading this Lent, I have taken up Diarmaid MacCulloch's Silence: A Christian History. MacCulloch, one of our great contemporary church historians, looks at the practice of silence for both good and ill, from our roots in Jewish tradition and Graeco-Roman culture of late antiquity, across the ages of Christian history, and into contemporary times.

Jesus himself engaged silence as a regular practice, often by himself in prayer, and even in the face of his betrayal and passion. Yet at other times, he challenged the authorities for their cruel silence on the plight of the people around him: the poor, the disenfranchised, and those deemed unclean.

In our contemplative prayer group, we have touched on the rich history of using silence as a tool for prayer and centering: a key spiritual practice in deepening faithful awareness of one another and the work of Christ in our lives. But silence has also been a way the institutional church has turned its back on the neglected and oppressed. We know that Christian silence on the institution of slavery sustained a profound evil for centruies, and how breaking silence recently on the experiences of our LGBT brothers and sisters liberated them from a millennia-long persecution. We know that silencing women in power was an early tactic of a Church adopting ancient forms of Roman institutional patriarchy. We know that starting to listen to women relatively recently in our history and welcoming them into lay and ordained leadership has profundly altered the future of the Church


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March 20th

Mt. Carmel Hot Lunch Program
9:30 am
Mt. Carmel

March 22nd

Choir Practice
7:00 pm
Choir Room

March 25th

Ecumenical Service
1:30 pm
The Redwoods

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