This was perhaps the hardest thing my husband was ever asked to do! Not talking is a real challenge, but he did a very expressive mime for a French church service twenty-four years ago. There were no worries over a microphone, vocabulary or an American accent. The message was clear even without words.
Mime has been around since the days of Greek theater in 467BC. But it was Gerard Deburau who introduced in France the silent Pierrot pantomimes in the nineteenth century. We call them “pantomime blanche” because of the white face. Mime or silent theater is a wonderful way of communicating the Gospel without the need for language!
Our verse for today was written by King Solomon who had received from God a special gift of wisdom. It is part of a poetic text that describes the times for doing or refraining from doing a number of activities.
There are many occasions when it is better to remain silent than to speak. In the face of overwhelming grief, it is often better to touch and hug rather than to speak. I will never forget a time when we were in a state of shock, and a good friend said not a word. He cried with us, and that was all that was needed. We often hesitate to approach someone suffering because we worry about what to say. A silent presence sometimes speaks more eloquently than words ever could.
There is a time to speak and I need God’s wisdom in my choice of words. Whether it is explaining the Gospel or comforting a friend, Lord show me when to speak but also when to be lovingly silent.