Famed mime Marcel Marceau died several weeks ago at age 84. He was the lithe, graceful, and expressive artist who could make us believe he was climbing stairs where there were none, pressing his hands against a pane of glass that was not there, and leaning into a wind that was not blowing.

The most expressive part of his repertoire emerged as he matured. He could trigger worlds of thought and sentiment in us by the tilt of an eyebrow or with a smile. His signature "Youth, Maturity, Old Age and Death" carried one through the course of an entire human life in four to five minutes. As people got older, they watched with deeper passion and understanding. But even the young who witnessed it were drawn into deep reflection on the meaning of life.

Perhaps the silent beauty of Marceau resonated for people for half a century because of the addiction to noise that complicates life for most of us.

I confess it. I am addicted to the noise of a TV I am not watching and the music or talk on my car radio I am not hearing. Maybe that is why one of the spiritual disciplines is silence.

As a spiritual discipline, silence is the deliberate shutting away of people and things that intrude noise into one’s consciousness so that it can be fully attuned to God. It is being still, so we can know that God is sovereign — and we are not. It is refusing to be distracted from the divine presence. It is being quiet, reflective, and open to the very voice of God.

As you drive home from work this afternoon, leave the radio off!
Silence, which almost always requires solitude, is a humbling thing for the powerful. It reminds them that the real power in this cosmos is in the voice of God, not in their instructions for and demands upon their peers. It is also uplifting to the not-so-powerful, for it reminds them that there is only one voice that must be heard. Even in our weakness, God will not abandon us.

As you drive home from work this afternoon, leave the radio off and reflect on the presence of God with you or some divine attribute for which you are especially grateful right now. In the quiet few moments before you fall asleep tonight or before you get out of bed in the morning, focus on the Lord and turn over a favorite passage of Scripture.

An artist reminded us that silence sometimes says more than words can. God waits to be our teacher in the still moments we share with him. Thus he calls us: "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).