An Eighth Rest
One of the most well-known pieces of classical music is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor. It’s immediately recognizable because of its iconic opening, a four-note motif that is among the most famous in Western music. But did you know that it actually begins with silence? Beethoven inserted an eight rest before the first note.
Beethoven’s Fifth is so familiar to us that it’s difficult to re-create the full effect it had when it debuted at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien on December 22, 1808. And although it’s difficult to discern Beethoven’s original intent, that eight rest served as a sonic buffer. At the beginning of a concert there is ambient noise: conversations between concertgoers, a few stragglers finding their seats, the rustling of programs. A bit of silence at the beginning of a symphony is ear cleaning, even if it’s only an eight rest. It was silence that set up that symphony. Could the same be true of our lives?
Could we use a few more eighth rests? Especially if we want our lives to be symphonies of God’s grace. I would recommend an eighth rest at the beginning and end of the day – a few moments to collect our thoughts, count our blessings, and pray our prayers. We also need a day of rest one day a week. Rest is so important that the Sabbath is one of God’s Ten Commandments.
I’d like to suggest you try a silence retreat for a day or so at least once a year. Make sure to tell someone where you’re going and for how long, but cut off your cell phone and your computer. Stay off of Facebook and social media. Unplug from e-mail, cable news and even the newspaper. Get alone with God and His Word. And when you do, spend more time listening than you do talking.
The writer of Proverbs says that “the wise listen and add to their learning” Proverbs 1:5. There is so much to gain if we will get quiet enough to hear God’s voice.
Take an eighth rest this week. Lean in and see if you can hear God’s voice. He’s got plenty to say if we will only take time to hear Him.
Have a great week!
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