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March Life Together newsletter

Sound level turns down in Lent

By Pastor Paul Stumme-Diers

I watched the Closing Ceremonies of the 2018 Olympic Games this evening while flying home on the airplane from Minneapolis. When I saw how this coincided with my flight I lamented that realization to Laurie, since I am a pretty attentive fan of the Olympics.

But watch them I did, on the small monitor aback the seat in front of me. After a game of Suduko, I noticed on the screen that I could get “satellite TV” and so I pressed on that selection, and
then went to NBC. There in living color was the
closing ceremony from South Korea. I reached for my
earphones, but I then realized that they were in the
luggage Delta made me check at the gate. Arghhh.
And so I watched that colorful, symbolic event
without benefit of sound.

Laurie later told me that the music added a lot of the
spirit of the ceremony, but I enjoyed the image of
athletes coming together, discovering new friends, discovering new dance steps, and the symbols of peace and friendship throughout. All of this was punctuated by the presence of children carrying glowing orbs. I think the message of peace, unity and hope came through loud and clear, without even needing the soundtrack and commentary (and mercifully, without commercials).

The wisdom of St. Francis came to mind: “Preach at all times, when necessary use words.” I think of the images and symbolism of our faith (much which is foreign to outsiders), but also of the importance of our actions and demeanor aside from our words.

I also think of the cacophony of noise in our social and political lives – talking (yelling) heads on the TV, and people occupied with the stuff on our devices (now including TVs livestreaming on airplane seatbacks).

Perhaps Lent is an opportunity to consider the “Sound of Silence,” the place of peace and quiet, the place of peace and harmony, that does well to inhabit our frantic and noisy lives.

Peace be with you,
Pastor Paul