The music soars to a climax, and ends. The audience sits breathless, silent. The silence is entire, beautiful in and of itself, and very, very short–just before the applause begins.
Karen Armstrong, a British author and commentator known for her books on comparative religion, writes in “Louder Than Words,” (Literary Review) about the power of silence from a theological point of view. The article is a review of Silence: A Christian History by Diarmaid MacCulloch.
The silence of God is about the Divine as utterly incomprehensible. There is nothing we can say. All our language about God is meaningless because the Divine is beyond all our language–all our understanding.
But what about that pause when the symphony ends? Does art participate in a holy silence, the silence that is God? Almost certainly, I think, silence is present and central to art, literature, music.
Said William Blake, “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”
In the meantime, most of us must rely on art.