Bonhoeffer on silence and the word

I’m posting a few quotes from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together purchase from Amazon UK purchase from Amazon US which I recently reviewed (here).

Today a quote that I think is spot on. If Bonhoeffer feared people were indifferent to silence in his context, then today there is a lot of much rubbish talked today about silence and contemplative prayer. As Bonhoeffer reminds us, silence is for the Word.

‘There is an indifferent or even negative attitude toward silence which sees in it a disparagement of God’s revelation in the Word. Silence is misunderstood as a solemn gesture, as a mystical desire to get beyond the Word. Silence is no longer seen in its essential relationship to the Word, as the simple act of the individual who falls silent under the Word of God. We are silent before hearing the Word because our thoughts are already focused on the Word, as children are quiet when they enter their father’s room. We are silent after hearing the Word because the Word is still speaking and living and dwelling within us. We are silent early in the morning because God should have the first word, and we are silent before going to bed because the last word also belongs to God. We remain silent solely for the sake of the Word, not thereby to dishonour the Word but rather to honour and receive it properly. In the end, silence means nothing other than waiting for God’s Word and coming from God’s Word with a blessing.’ (84/85)
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One thought on “Bonhoeffer on silence and the word

  1. How especially important to have some silence after the reading and preaching of the Word. All too often we miss hearing what the Lord would say to us as we plunge into coffee and conversation seconds after the last Amen of a service. ‘How must I respond to Your Word’ should be on our hearts, and a time of silence gives the opportunity to hear God’s answer.

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