Silence is a gift. It comes to us freely. It is never rude, intrusive or abusive. It is available every day we seek after it. It can provide healing and clarity for our souls. It is the power of the faithful against an onslaught of noise, distractions, and divisiveness. A discipline of silence provides the foundation for clearing out our ears and cleaning out our heads. Once we kept silence, we are next able to listen; truly, authentically, and deeply seeking to discern and discover the voice of God. This week we are thinking about Jesus' start to his public ministry found in the Gospel of Luke. In Nazareth, he preaches his first sermon to his hometown congregation. His preparation has included 40 days of silence in the wilderness. Before he speaks, he has kept silent. Next, he invites us to listen to the liberating words of the prophet Isaiah. This is the transformational formula we will remember this Sunday in worship. Seek silence before listening. Listen for the needs around you before you speak. Allow this process to fill you with God's loving Spirit in your actions and words. And it all begins with the gift of silence.