I caught a glimpse of Big Ben in a news bulletin and it was quite a sight to see the tower completely covered with scaffolding and walkways as much needed renovation work is underway.
The tower houses the famous Big Ben stands over three hundred feet tall with each face measuring 23 feet across.
There’s been some controversy as to why Big Ben should be silenced for this period of renovation but if it ensures the hearing, safety and wellbeing of those who will be working on the tower and the surrounding Houses of Parliament then it is, of course, the right decision.
According to tradition Thomas Carlisle coined the phrase ‘Silence is Golden’. We live in an increasingly noisy society which affects us all in one way or another.
The raising of voices inside and especially outside the houses of Parliament in recent days with some MP’s suffering harassment as well as insulting and intimidating behaviour is far from the principles of democracy and free speech which are part of our political heritage.
Sometimes worship at Greenfield is disturbed by heavy metal music blasting from cars with windows wide open waiting at the traffic lights outside the chapel. I’ve just watched a TV drama where the dialogue was all but inaudible such was the level of background music.
The Bible encourages us to ‘Be still’ before God and that’s good advice. If that means turning off the TV, the radio, the internet and taking the ‘phone off the hook even for a short time that would be good for our health and wellbeing.
Christians often use such times to read the Bible, to pray which can be the means by which God refreshes and brings his assurance of comfort and peace. There are communities of faith, especially in the Monastic traditions where continual prayer and silence are seen as an essential ministry of prayer peace and reconciliation in the world.
None of us would want a world totally devoid of friendly chat, beautiful music or the sound of children’s laughter. The rhythms of nature of rushing rivers and songbirds in the skies and all such gentle sounds compliment such silence.
How much more the voice of God who speak words of peace and assurance in the noise and bustling days in which we live. Jesus said ‘Peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you’ God’s precious gift of his calm.