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April 30th, 2020 Daily Devotional

Leanne Italie wrote a column in early April in which she reflects that “sound

has become a shared experience, in joy and sadness.” Ambulances,

balcony singing, silence where traffic noise would be expected, church

bells ringing even from atop empty sanctuaries.

And the birds. It seems we are all noticing and talking about the birds. I

know nothing about birds, but I could watch them for hours, and I eagerly

await each year the warm-enough days when I can leave windows open at

night and wake to the birds singing. And this year, studies are showing that

a reduction in ambient noise is making the birdsong more audible.

Maybe we’re also more ready and eager to hear.

I wonder what makes the birds’ songs so comforting and reassuring.

Perhaps they signal life emerging, persistent and stubbornly, out of winter

silence. I’m reminded of the hymn we sang on Easter (In The Bulb There Is

a Flower) and these words: “There’s a song in every silence, seeking word

and melody; there’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and


The Kentucky poet Wendell Berry wrote this little poem in 1997:

Best of any song

is bird song

in the quiet, but first

you must have the quiet.

So I’m pondering again Leanne Italie’s reflection about sound as a shared

experience—in joy and sadness. And about the pairing of song and silence

in the hymn and in Berry’s poem. That’s life, isn’t it? Joy and sadness, song

and silence. As the hymn continues: “From the past will come the future;

what it holds, a mystery, unrevealed until its season, something God alone

can see.”

I recorded the birds singing this morning. (Hopefully you can hear them,

too, in the attached video.) Even in the rain, their songs are persistent. I

think they are singing of life, in all its mystery.

Will you pray with me?

God, as we move throughout this day, give us enough silence to hear, and

enough song to hope. Amen.

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