The sound of ... silence. Psalm 50

My wife and I love kids... We’re blessed to have had four of our own, and now have nine grandchildren too… and would love to have more. 

But. The two of us were out for a meal yesterday in a supermarket café and, basically, THEY SHALL NOT KEEP SILENCE! It wasn’t that they were especially misbehaving, or tearing around the room; it was just the cacophony of noise while you were trying to eat. Admittedly, I find that loud noise does not agree with my digestive system…

But. Children nearby where we were sitting literally screamed their heads off at times. The cavernous warehouse-style building re-echoed everything, and (how shall I put it?) some of the younger children especially were making the most of the acoustic effects. By any measure, it was a deafening noise level in which to eat.

Then I looked.

The tables where most of the noise came from each had two parents (or carers) sitting at the table too. And they seemed quite unaffected by the behaviour of their children.

When the children shouted, they calmly carried on; when the children screamed very loudly, they calmly carried on. Could this be a new undiscovered method of managing screaming children, I wondered? We’ll never know. 

But. One thing was patently obvious; the behaviour of the children elicited zero response from the grown-ups with them: they continued checking their phones/iPhones, talking to each other, or seemingly lost in their own world.

They had literally blanked their children out.  And they kept silent...

Sunset on a beach

I don’t know about you, but when I read the news or open emails, or snail mail, our world is a scary place to live in. And that’s just post Covid-19. We live in an area with 36,000 people in it. There are just two NHS dentists. There are just two NHS doctor’s surgeries here, and ours has two registered GPs serving 26,000 people. 

But. Guess what? Our local health forum reports that things are really going well here.

One could be forgiven for thinking that we’re all living in a cavernous warehouse-like culture, where there is so much noise around us that we cannot hear anymore what is going on. Or maybe we’re all in a coma, sleepwalking into the end of Western culture as we remember it?

My guess is, that the children in the supermarket café are trying to tell us something. They’re saying… indeed SCREAMING at us, “Listen to us, listen to us, LISTEN TO US!!!”

But. We’re all on our phones/iPhones/ laptops/tablets (very ironic name)… hiding… because we no longer know what to do about it all.

Well, guess what! The writer of Psalm 50 had exactly the same problem. He lived in a culture where people were like us… going through the motions of being alive, but disengaged from what was going on around them. The sheer noise of the disconnect between what people were doing (going out for a family meal, going to church, reading the daily news crime reports, having a drink with friends, texting/emailing/tweeting and twittering or the Old Testament equivalent)… and what was actually happening, had sent people into a sleepwalk where a cliff was close, and culture was shutting its corporate eyes, ears, mouths, and minds to it all.

So here’s the good news from the Psalmist, everyone.

“Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: there shall go before Him a consuming fire, and a mighty tempest shall be stirred up round about Him.” (Verse 3)

“These things hast thou done,” God says in this psalm, “and I held my tongue, and thou thoughtest wickedly, that I Am even such a one as thyself: BUT……I will reprove thee, and set before thee the things that thou hast done.” (Verse 21)

Basically, the Independent Inquiry of Heaven’s throne room is OUT! folks.

And, in plain English, GOD is coming.

And His verdict is IN.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of noise.

Tired of news items telling me how bad inflation is…

how bad unemployment is…

how bad the NHS is…

how bad the government is…

how bad climate change is…

how bad the divorce rate now is…

I want an answer!

And God says?......................




Lord, I can do nothing about the noise when I eat, the statistics on inflation, the scale of marriage breakdown, the chronic lack of doctors or dentists, the rising temperatures on our planet, the sea of waste that is ruining your beautiful world…..

BUT… I can listen to you, and… in Mary’s words, “Whatever He tells you to do, do it!” (John 2 vs 5)

Forgive my deaf ears…                                                                      

my noisy lifestyle…

my failure to just …


In the Name of the Word made flesh, even Jesus Christ our LORD.



Written by faithful acet UK supporter, Reverend Robert Ireton