1Kings 19: 11 - 13
He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind, and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake, and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire, and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Psalm 139: 7 - 8
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
I have been thinking a lot lately about how fractured this world seems to be. We live in a world that connects us to everything in an instant. We can go onto technology and find the information that we need. We can log onto social media and connect with people around the world. I have reconnected with people whom I haven’t seen in 40 years through the wonder of social media. It seems as if technology has made the world a much smaller, a much more intimate place. I wonder, has it though? This wonder of technology has also allowed us to become more isolated, as we don’t have to leave the comforts of our homes to interact with others. We can go onto our computers, interact as much or as little as we want, without physically being in the same space as others. The other thing that technology has done is that it has allowed so many to interact with others without the fear of rejection, the fear of being who they truly are because, in reality you can be anyone you want to be on the internet.
It is strange how the Spirit works, isn’t it? This ‘Wondering’ started out as a rather negative commentary on technology and as I began writing my perspective changed and evolved. I see this as the Spirit moving within my thoughts, my words, and my writing. To be honest I think that that is what this entire piece is about this movement of the Spirit when we don’t expect it. The scriptures that I chose speak to the presence of God with us. In 1Kings it is Elijah, who goes out to meet God. As Elijah waits, God is not in that wind, or in that earthquake, or even in that fire, God comes to Elijah in the silence. The second passage from Psalm 139 (which by the way is my favourite Psalm) speaks to God’s presence with us no matter where we find ourselves in our lives. As I think about these scriptures and I think about the world, I have come to see that there are many times when I have not been open to the presence of God in my own life. I have been quick to judge others and how they live their lives. I have been quick to judge how others connect to the world around themselves and in doing so I forget one important thing. The late Fr. Donald Cozzens, Roman Catholic priest, author, and lecturer, in his book “Notes From The Underground” stated, "At the heart of the Gospel is a subtext that whispers we are not alone, that our creator has planted in our true selves a capacity for intimacy with God, creation, others-and ourselves.” We have been created to be in relationship. We have been created to be in relationship with ourselves, with others, and with God. Who gets to decide what that might look like for each of us? I think that the challenge with the world, why the world has become so fractured, is that we have lost the ability to see ourselves as connected to each other, in whatever way that works for us, and to God. We struggle to listen for God in the silence. So many don’t see the presence of the Divine in their lives, in the world, in others, and so they feel lost and alone. This is not the loneliness of being alone, but rather a spiritual loneliness that comes from missing real connection in one’s life. We as Christians are challenged to constantly seek God in the silences, in the cracks, in the margins of life. We are also called to come into intimate, deep meaningful, relationships with the people around us. If we do this we might just model a new way of living for others so that they too might find true connection in their lives.
God of the deep silences, give us the wisdom to seek you in the silences of our own lives. Give us the courage to reach out to others in friendship, care, and compassion, offering our presence to them so that they might feel you. Give us the strength to move beyond the comforts of our own lives and to venture into those places where we might once again find you waiting. We ask this in the name of the one who is God Incarnate, your presence with us, Jesus. Amen.