Eurasia Blog Wednesday GUEST Devotion: Speaking Us to Silence

This month’s Eurasia Blog Wednesday Guest Devotion is written by Rev. Dr. Christopher Ahlman. Dr. Ahlman serves as a Career Missionary in Leipzig, Germany with his family. He uses sacred music to proclaim the Gospel in Leipzig and beyond, serves as a civilian pastor to American Military in Germany, and teaches Preaching and Hermeneutics at the seminary of sister church body, The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ingria in Russia (ELCIR), in Kultishi, Russia.

Dr. Ahlman lecturing during his recital at St. Michael's Lutheran Church in St. Petersburg, Russia. On the left, translator Aleksei Zubtsov prepares to translate Dr. Ahlman's lecture into Russian. (Photo Courtesy of the ELCIR).

Dr. Ahlman lecturing during his recital at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in St. Petersburg, Russia. On the left, translator Aleksei Zubtsov prepares to translate Dr. Ahlman’s lecture into Russian. (Photo Courtesy of the ELCIR).

–By Rev. Dr. Christopher Ahlman

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’? If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions (Matthew 22:34-46 ESV).

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.

–Psalm 62.1

Although it may be painful or embarrassing, being silenced by the Lord’s words is ultimately a good thing. No longer are you left to your own ideas, your thoughts, your words, your pursuits–and, thus, no longer are you bound to the devil and your flesh and the very hell from which your resources and devices arise, to which they are oriented, and to which they inevitably lead and land you and others. No, when the Lord silences you with His words, you are freed from all of that.

Freedom directly given from the Lord’s own hand means not only that your questions (and the ulterior reasons for asking them) are ultimately misguided and not worth pursuing; it also and especially means that the Lord’s own questions stemming from the Lord’s own answers will lead you to places beyond where your imagination can take you. That process entails silence–an ever-attentive ear to what the Lord has said–which is precisely why the Lord brings you there.

Which is to say, the Lord enjoins you to Him in death–that is, waiting upon God in solemn hope that God will make good on his promising words to raise you up–and in resurrection–that is, confirming in solemn joy that God indeed keeps His promising words. And, not only that, but the Lord mandates you to His works, solemnly declaring before the world that silence from the Lord’s own hand–and everything that comes with it: pain and embarrassment, yes, but salvation, ultimately and entirely, is “the way to go.”

Freedom never sounded so good.

Let us Pray: O God, whose word brought forth silence in a newly-created world, speak silence into our mind, heart, soul, and strength, that we may rejoice in the new creation in penitence and trust. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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