There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. — Psalm 86:8
We cannot truly know God except God is different than anything else. We’d really have to be as great as God in order to gain a reasonably accurate understanding of Who or What God is. Perhaps that is why the philosopher Abraham Heschel said, “ Every statement about God is an understatement.” Perhaps that is why Rabbis understood the Hebrew text to say that silence is the only fitting praise for God. I think that is why my favorite type of prayer is the soundless wordless prayer-moments.
Yet it isn’t human nature to remain silent in the face of greatness. We may fail or stumble, but we still think it useful to say audibly why we find a painting or sculpture exquisite, or a wine exceptional. I often falter in my feeble attempts at these meditations. We all spend so much of our lives trying to find the words to expose who we are and what we truly feel. Perhaps that is why music, body language, silence and the like play such important roles in our religious life. They communicate what lies beyond even our best words.
Even greater is the religious prose we read every day during Lent. Try imagining all the prose you read as lyrics awaiting your soul to give them flight.