As many of you realize, I’ve been sharing with you on Sundays a series of sermons, “The spirit still speaks,” based mostly on the stories of Elijah. A few Sundays ago, the “mantle” was passed to Elisha, and now the sermons will come from some stories of Elisha the prophet and others, before we move back to the regular lectionary.
As I look back over this series, I realize that there could have been some others about Elijah: Like Elijah defeating the 500 prophets of Baal, as his sacrifice was consumed and theirs was not! Like Elijah suddenly becoming frightened for his life, after bravely standing up to Jezebel and her foreign prophets and Gods, and him fleeing and being fed by ravens while living in a cave.
Elijah like the rest of us, of course, was a man and not just a prophet. So, he experienced what we all experience – a full range of human emotions: love, anger, fear, shame, insight, humility, pride…
“As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God… Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?… I say to God my rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I walk about mournfully… My adversaries taunt me… continually, “Where is your God?” (excerpts from Psalm 42)
Elijah spent some time in depression when Jezebel threatened his life and he fled. He was secluded for 40 days and nights, and then went to Mount Horeb. There an angel told him to wait for God to pass by. There was a great rock-splitting wind, but Elijah did not find God in the wind. There was an earthquake, there was fire. God was not in them. Then there was sheer silence. That is where Elijah heard God’s voice. The voice told him what he was to do next.
I think that there are times when we each get depressed about where the turn of events has taken us. We can’t seem to find God in the present. We become direction-less. We view the past with nostalgia, and the future with fear, and the present is filled with indecision and a feeling of exhaustion from the whirlwind-like lives we have been living. We have sought God in all the BIG things, the stressful, stringently power-focused, mighty acts in which we think we will find God. In the gala events of the church. In the mighty blow-out pipe organ or in frenzied worship. In the busy-ness of church life, as if in the doing and doing, the whirlwind, we will find ourselves faithful.
Maybe, just maybe… if we stop focusing on noise and hustle-bustle, and instead stand on the mountain in the midst of sheer silence, we will hear the voice of God telling us where to go, and what to say, and how to do what God calls us to.
Just a suggestion. What do you think?
Faithfully, Pastor Karla