“‘Get up,’ he (the Levite) said, ‘Let’s get going.’ There was no answer.”
Judges 19: 28
“Though I Passed Away in Silence”
“A (person) may wrong another as well by silence as by slander.”
Has anyone ever tried to “silence” me from saying the truth?
How does it feel to have one’s voice silenced?
“Silence has a suffocating, deadening effect. And the thing that dies first is hope.”
“While we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.”
There are certain definitive things in life that bring back memories. I know in my own life the smell of baking bread reminds me of Grandma’s kitchen. Whenever I see the color purple, my memory takes me back to my first bedroom, in a small house that was the first home my parents ever owned. Because we weren’t renting the house, I was able to choose the color we painted the walls in my room and it was a soft lavender.
But there’s another thing that brings back many memories for me and it’s music. Especially music from long ago. Whenever I was at my grandparent’s house, they were playing records on their phonograph. I’ll never forget the choral music from some of those old records that filled their home with soft, gentle melodies.
One of the songs that has stuck with me through the years is a beautiful but sad song called “In The Gloaming” written by Annie Fortescue Harrison. Through the years, with the help of the internet and occasional visits to antique stores, I’ve been able to collect old pieces of sheet music I play on the piano, and this past weekend I enjoyed letting the haunting tune “In The Gloaming” take me back in time. This particular song speaks of a long ago love that was lost. The poignant words, “Though I passed away in silence,” really set the tone for the theme of this piece of music.
I feel this song’s message, especially the words “passed away in silence” aptly describe the end of the book of Judges. For if there’s one single message that should strike a chord in the heart of every one of God’s daughters in the book of Judges it is this: women lost their voice! As Judges begins, led by Deborah and Jael, God’s daughters not only had a voice – their voices were listened to. Women were heard and they were respected for what they said. But as the Israelites did what was right in their own eyes, the greatest casualty of this willful and wayward behavior was the daughters of God, who by the end of the book of Judges, were “silenced.” We even find that one of God’s daughters lay dead on the threshold of a house with no one hearing or responding to her cries for mercy. In death, God’s girl was totally silenced. Muzzled for good by those who despised and raped her.
Although to all those on earth, the life of the Levite’s concubine may have appeared futile; God did not forget His girl. And the book of Ruth is where we find the fact that while it may have appeared that not only were God’s girls silenced, but that His sons were brutal in their treatment of His daughters, there was “good happening!” Voices were arising from among God’s children and praise His name – God was putting a song of praise into the mouth’s of His girls again.
I love the words of Elizabeth Bowen: “Silences have a climax when you have to speak.” The death of the Levite’s concubine in Judges was the climax of silence and in Ruth, God’s daughters spoke out again – and what rejoicing we will find is present when God’s girls learn to break the silence of pain, sorrow and abuse.
Arise, O daughters of God – lift up your voice and speak gloriously of your Father and King.
“Sticks and stones are hard on bones.
Aimed with angry art,
Words can sting like anything.
But silence breaks the heart.”
“Out of the Depths”
“Out of the depths I cry to you, O God,
Hear my voice, O God, listen to my pleading.
My voice is weak, O God, my God,
Although it speaks for many…
…it is the voice of women groaning in labour;
Sweating in toil, abandoned in hardship,
Weeping in mourning,
Awakened in worry,
Enslaved in dependency,
Afraid of their weakness.
Do you hear my voice, O God, my God?
Can you answer me?
The words I hear all speak to me of men.
You said I am also in Your image,
You are my father, are You also my mother,
Comfort-bringing like the loving arms?
Do You hear my voice, O God, my God?
Can You answer me?
I am not at home in this world any more.
My heart is full of tears for my sisters,
They choke my words of joy.
Do You hear my voice, O God, my God?
Can You answer me?”
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.