Dale Appleby

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Weekly Reflections

The Mystery of the Empty Void

The Mystery of the Empty Void

An empty void filled the church. Empty, of course. Voids are always empty.  This one didn't  fill everything.  It was more like a ceiling, hovering above the worshippers, a block of nothing, thick, invisible and impenetrable. or so it seemed.

You could tell it was there because it seemed to be a kind of sound barrier to the divine voice. A ceiling of silence that stopped the worshippers hearing from heaven.  

How did it get there? Some say it gradually grew. It began when a priest started to get serious about what God thought about things. The more the priest went on about God and what God had to say, the bigger the void became.

Some said it was projected from the worshippers. Or some of them anyway. A kind of protective barrier to keep out the disturbing ideas. As the priest talked more and more about God and what he said, resistance grew. This was very strange. And surprising. 

After all the worshippers were there to worship God. But deeper down in the lives of many were the seeds of a  resistance movement. A struggle, maybe a confusion, certainly a resistance about - not what God said -  but about who was really God.

Not that it was ever put in those terms. God, after all, was God. But many wanted God to be God on their terms. Pliable, amenable, helpful, but not interfering, or going against what they thought.

And so as time went on, and God was heard to claim to be God in every way and in every life, to really be God, the void started to grow. It filtered out what some didn't want to hear. And, shockingly, it worked. 

It may have been invisible, but more and more, people could hear less and less. Priests came and went (as priests do) but the ceiling stayed. Although no-one could see it,  many could not hear from heaven anymore. But others were very frustrated. With what seemed to be deaf worshippers.

How could the void be removed? Or filled? How could the worshippers hear again?


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