On Good Friday evening, I attended a cantata at church. Because of the somber mood of the Good Friday service the pastor asked the congregation to refrain from applause. When the cantata was over we joined in the Lord’s Prayer and left the church in silence. It was a poignant moment.
Applause can also be distracting to worship. And we must be aware of when God is calling for silence and when He is calling for celebration. When applause is appropriate it is an offering that is pleasing to God. When it is inappropriate, it comes as a profane gesture.
Last night was an evening of grief and mourning, and applause for the choir’s performance would have been inappropriate. And God through the power of the Holy Spirit was moving through the sanctuary, applying the truth of the cross into the hearts of those present through the words and music of each song. By the end of the service, a sacred silence filled the sanctuary and many felt the gentle touch of God. In His Church, God ministers in the silence opening our hearts to holy moments of intimacy with Him. If we are afraid of this holy silence, and fill it with the noise of applause, we risk missing quiet encounters with the Lord.
God is in the silence. It is His gift to us, and He uses it to draw us deeper into Him.
“It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (Lamentations 3:26).
Photo by Aaron Burden
Denise Larson Cooper has a passion for Christ and sharing His Word. A wife and mother of two daughters, Denise currently works as a gymnastic coach.
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