At this moment, I’m running out of words. The ones coming at me seem overburdened from trying to carry something that’s too heavy for human expression. The words I’d like to send skitter around in my brain, waiting to capture the essence of my best thinking but clearly not up to the task. Like you, every day I face both what’s unspeakable and what’s ineffable.
What’s unspeakable? The horrors of a despot’s war. Evils that seem widespread. A growing list of real or imagined dangers. Cascading anxieties that can’t always be tamed by conversation. Sometimes it feels like employing even my best words will give these phenomena more power, robbing me of my agency to think and act fearlessly.
What’s ineffable? Questions whose answers can’t satisfy my need to know. Mysteries—about human nature, God’s will, the greater good—that resist efforts to corral them into frameworks of knowledge. Uncertainties that thumb their noses at my attempts to measure, understand or predict their causes and effects.
At times I am drawn toward the possibility—or wisdom—of silence. To stop chasing just the right words. My primal brain wants to hide, to freeze and to withdraw from what seems beyond my power to comprehend or communicate.
Weekly worship brings me alongside holy word-bearers—preachers and musicians—who find and construct small-but-sturdy edifices of truth, comfort and purpose. Together with other word-needy folks, I listen for wisdom in God’s Word. I come away with shimmering glimmers of hope, understanding and motivation. I see what lies beyond mere silence—actions in God’s name. I realize again that the unspeakable and ineffable wonder of God’s grace is etched into my spirit.
Good reasons for me to persevere as a Gospel listener, speaker and writer!
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