I recently called at Ampleforth Abbey. Despite its architecture, it is a fairly modern building, though no less impressive. The church is open to the public and the occasional monk is observed swishing around in flowing robe. A few signs stand in the church demanding silence. Apart from someone re-varnishing pews, one might have heard a pin drop.

I like silence. Being a school teacher, an absence of din and clamour is a rare occasion. For worship, however, I am not so convinced. Although Proverbs counsels fewer words than many, and other scriptures advise us to be 'still', silence is not the hallmark of worship. Singing, shouting, reading scriptures and supplications are all part of our communion. This is a response to God, His character and His deeds. This is why Psalm 100 talks about making a joyful noise. When contemplating God’s love and mercy, one cannot but cry out with joyful gratitude. There is a time for silence, but public, corporate worship is not usually it. Indeed, says Psalm 94:

Unless the LORD had been my help, My soul would soon have settled in silence.

It is because of God’s salvation that we need no longer be silent.