Do you know the hardest thing about comedy?

No, what’s the hardest…


…thing about comedy?

Timing may not be everything, but without it we would have a hard time understanding much of anything. During the episode this week when the trio demonstrated the importance of allowing space by talking all at once, they showed us the importance of timing to understanding. Too often, too many of us fall victim to the practice of listening simply for the opening to reply. But there is a wonderful gift in being empty enough to receive what the other offers, without the need for a reply. It is wise to seek to receive what others offer, even if it only confirms what you already know. There is comfort in the confirmation of shared thoughts that speaks of the connectivity that is possible when we understand ourselves as connected by the same spirit. There is also the distinct possibility that what we lack is to be found in what is offered by others. If we reach out with something other than empty hands there is no room to receive anything. There is truly a gift in emptiness. The emptiness in improvisation not only allows the individual musicians to listen to each other, but even more generally, it is that space between notes that allows us to hear the beauty of each one instead of the cacophony of everyone sounding at once.

The fun video of Bill Nye (the science guy) that kicked off the episode this week demonstrated that matter is more space than it is, well, matter. If you missed it, here it is.

Considering that most of what we experience is actually space, it is truly the final (or more likely, just the next) frontier. In our spiritual exploration of inner space, we are surely bound to find more space than material. That blessed emptiness is the space where we are most likely to encounter the gifts that God wants to bestow on us. So much meditative practice takes us into that emptiness where we can be open to be filled. Even the experimentation with meditating with music provided by the Inner Journeys Trio is about exploring space. The cascade of notes without a predictable pattern can capture our attention in a way that covers some area, drawing us into new places, perhaps out of our comfort zone. The risk of intentionally seeking the emptiness of quiet is that we can so easily fill it with other inner noises that we squeeze out room for God to show us the gift that is waiting. By chasing after the notes of the music as it comes at us, we can be forced to notice that we have covered territory that we hadn’t considered. There surely are inner distances that we haven’t known, let alone explored. It is here that we might receive that blessing that we hear at the end of each Darkwood Brew episode, that the Spirit might go behind us to push us into places that we might not have gone otherwise!

Rev. Ian Lynch is pastor of  First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Brimfield, MA. He blogs about the intersection of spirituality and society at and the intersection of spirituality and ornithology at


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