I have just finished reading "Silence" by Shusaku Endo. Put simply it is an excellent novel exploring the silence of God in the face of suffering and the nature of grace.
Whilst there are numerous themes to consider the one that seems most pertinent to me is the question of God's silence.
In the novel the Jesuit Priest conitnually comments on the silence of God in the face of suffering and I was struck by the candid honesty of his struggle.
In a church such as the Uniting Church in Australia which speaks of dsicerning God's will confessing that we hear silence from God can be difficult as it may indicate a lack of faith.
In a culture such as the Australian culture which touts atheism and in which my children are taught to beleive in Easter Bunny at school by their peers speaking of the silence of God may be seen as undermining an already shakey faith.
In a world where there continues to be great suffering through social, economic, political and natural movements admitting the silence of God may seem fatal.
Yet the silence from God can be almost palpable, a tangible reminder of our human frailty and need for answers.
For me the services in the week ahead are an opportunity once again to throw ourselves on the mercy of God and in our longing to hear his voice recall how Jesus prayed in the garden "not my will but yours". To recollect how on the cross Jesus experienced the agony of Godlessness "why have your forsaken me". To remember that in the face of the finality of death Jesus came and stood among his disciples and said "peace be with you".
It is remembering that God's silence is broken and we discover again God's loving concern for our world.