SILENCE IN HEAVEN?
Revelation 8:1...The Lamb has just opened the seventh seal on the scroll, it can now be opened and read, and "there was silence in heaven for about half an hour"!
We would have cheered, like when our team scores the deciding points of the match - in heaven, at this pivotal moment, there's silence. Not because of the terrifying things about to occur on earth, because at this stage nobody but God the Father knows what's coming! When things start happening after the silence, there are plenty of celestial cheering and fist-pumping as God finally calls mankind to order; but right here, there is silence. Maybe it was literally "half an hour", maybe it's just to remind us how uncomfortable we are with silence. Try having 30 seconds of total silence in church next Sunday...
Habakkuk sees destruction coming on his nation, but what drives him to prayer is the last sentence of his prophecy: "The LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him" (2:20). Zechariah prophecies that God is coming to live with his people, and offers this advice: "Be still before the LORD, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling" (2:13). But we are mostly like Peter: Jesus is transfigured before him on the mountain, and his mouth goes on autopilot, even though (in the words of Luke, 9:30) "he did not know what he was saying"! Anything but silence!
It's good to sing and shout and jump up and down and sing and shout and jump some more - the angels do it in heaven - but where's the awe? Where's the reverence in the presence of infinite goodness, infinite mercy, infinite wrath, infinite grace? When last were we speechless before the almighty God of heaven and earth?
Perhaps it's time for "about half an hour" of silence.