Daily Reflection
July 21st, 2005

Jeanne Schuler

Philosophy Department
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Exodus 19:1-2, 9-11, 16-20b
Daniel 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56
Matthew 13:10-17

The God of Quiet and Clamor

Moses climbed Mt. Sinai in a storm while the people waited at the bottom afraid. That day You spoke in the midst of clouds and clamor.

The three friends refused to bow down to the golden statue. You slipped into the furnace to keep them safe while they sang their trust and joy.

The fishermen were simple but they listened to your words. What they could not understand, they held in their hearts. Others were too stubborn to listen and too clever to see.

Matthew describes two sorts of people. Who am I?

Sometimes I belong to the crowd. We stream after what is new or even hideous. We hear but do not listen. We have seen it all. There are no real surprises. Enthusiasm annoys us. We don’t expect much. Just distraction, styles, more information. Fill us up, so the emptiness is not too noticeable. Headlines get us through the day. A world crisis helps us to focus. Otherwise we drift, absorbed by the tapes that keep running. How odd to be always together and yet so much alone.

Sometimes I try to listen. I switch off the cell phone and head for a quiet place. Under a shade tree, on the old sofa, stopping by church on the drive home. At first quiet unsettles me. Now what should I do? What should I read or recite? Gradually noise recedes. Something is greater than all my needs. A new presence finds me.

We might hustle into prayer, but we leave slowly. Listening slows us down. Jaded senses stir. The world grows fresh again. Away from the day’s rush, mystery becomes apparent. Why, it is all around us. More than we can say. Grateful we hold this in our hearts.

You come in the midst of thunder, fire, lions, and trouble. You find us in quiet and clamor. If we listen, you teach us to sing.

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