For hundreds of years rabbis, poets, pastors, and writers have been writing midrash. A midrash is a story that “fills in the gaps.” It takes something from Scripture, or another story, and fills in what’s missing. Here’s a midrash I wrote on Psalm 100 as part of a Creative Writing Seminar:
The earth was noisy, but it was a silent kind of noisy. People and animals everywhere were screaming, and yelling, and shouting so loudly that the man could only hear himself speak; the lion could only hear himself roar; the woman could only hear herself cry; the cricket could only hear itself chirp. The world was so very loud that it was actually quiet. Ears could only hear the sound of selfishness; and though there was noise, the noise had no purpose.
So the cry went up loud, and long, and bold enough for every one and every thing to hear. It was like a Last Day Trumpet: “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!” And there was silent silence. The man stopped speaking. The lion stopped roaring. The woman stopped crying. The cricket stopped chirping. The universe was so silent that it was almost deafening.
So the cry went up loud, and long, and bold enough for every one and every thing to hear once again. It was like a full-blown chorus of angels: “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!” And you couldn’t even hear crickets chirping.
The silence lasted for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, the tiny ant who, upon the hue and cry, had stopped right in his tracks as he was taking his grain of sand to use in the building of his new hill, let out the teeniest, tiniest, high-pitched “alleluia” you have ever heard. The universe had become so very silent that even if you were a hundred thousand miles away you could hear it.
Still there was silence. So he shouted again. This time no longer the teeniest, tiniest, high-pitched “alleluia” you have ever heard, but just a little louder than that.
Still there was silence. So he shouted a third time, at the top of his tiny ant lungs: “Alleluia! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
And lo and behold, the cricket started chirping a song of praise…and before long a whole herd of crickets did the same. Then the woman started laughing a hearty laugh of joy…and before long all of her friends and family with her. It wasn’t long before the lion roared a roar that affirmed the True King…and before long all the other lions and all of their subjects did as well.
And the man? The man spoke…no, he shouted…no, he sang…no he danced…no, he pointed his whole voice and his whole being toward the Lord. Pretty soon the cry that had once been heard only by the one making the cry, came together with insects, and beasts, and reptiles, and fish, and men, and women…and angels, to form the most beautiful chorus of “alleluias” ever heard. There was dancing, and instruments, and painting, and song, and weaving, and poetry, and praise…a joyful noise directed to the Lord by all the earth. It was a noisy noise that was music to the ears of the Lord.
What’s a story that has gaps which need to be filled? I’d love to see your ideas!