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Wednesday Wondering - June 5, 2024

Scripture

1 Kings 19: 9 - 12

9When he got there, he crawled into a cave and went to sleep.

Then the word of GOD came to him: “So Elijah, what are you doing here?”

10“I’ve been working my heart out for the GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies,” said Elijah. “The people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed the places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”

11Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before GOD. GOD will pass by.”

A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before GOD, but GOD wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but GOD wasn’t in the earthquake; 12and after the earthquake fire, but GOD wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.



Reflection

Our lives quite often ebb and flow, just like the tides. We have times, or days, in our lives when we are on the upward swing and it seems as if things are good. Then we have those other times, or days, when it seems as if nothing goes right, those days when it is a struggle to just exist. As much as this is true for each of us, it is also true for the world in general. It can be tough living in this world. There are wonderful things to celebrate, and then there are those times when the world feels so dark. One of my favourite movies is Contact, starring Jodie Foster. In the movie humanity receives a message from space giving instructions to build a machine. Eventually the machine is built and Ellie (Jodie Foster) enters the machine and has a life-altering experience. At one point during this experience she comes face to face with an alien who offers the following to Ellie, “You're an interesting species. An interesting mix. You're capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we've found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.” We live in world of beautiful dreams and horrible nightmares and so many feel so lost right now.


The scripture I choose, from 1Kings, is a familiar scripture passage for us, as we just read it in church a couple of weeks ago, where we spoke about journeys. Elijah is afraid, his courage has fled and he fears for his very life. It is in this time when Elijah desires not to feel so alone, although in many ways he is alone. It is a dark place for Elijah and in some ways it is so unfamiliar that Elijah is lost, confused, and is very unsure of himself. It is a place where many of us have been as well. It is a place where we feel as if we have been abandoned and feel so alone.


When was the last time that you watched a sunset? No two are ever the same because sometimes the sky is painted in beautiful pastel colours and other times it if alive with fiery reds, oranges, and yellows. Although I love watching the sunset I love the feeling I get watching those dramatic fiery sunsets, they fill me with awe of God’s creation. The other morning I was up very early, as I usually am, and before it started raining, as the sun was coming up I walked into our kitchen. What I saw took my breath away. Outside, the sky appeared as if it was on fire. The sun, as it rose, lit the clouds with a beautiful fiery red and that, combined with the swirling clouds, made the sky look as if it had caught fire. It was absolutely stunning!


Elijah was comfortable talking to God. Elijah was also used to having God speak to him. But then Elijah, lost and alone, goes to that mountain expecting God will speak to him in a dramatic and fiery way, but when the hurricane came, God was not there. Then the earthquake came, God was not there. When the fire came, God was not there, where was God? God was in that gentle, quiet, whisper. How often in our lives have we hoped for that dramatic, sometimes fiery response from God? How often have we wanted even some response from God, when it seems as if God is is silent? How often have waited and waited only to think that God was not to be found? Maybe that’s because we forget that God sometimes comes to us in the unexpected ways, sometimes God comes to us in silence and whisper it is up to us to be open to finding God in those moments. When we are expecting the dramatic, it can be challenging to see the subtle.


What if God isn’t going to come to us in those dramatic, fiery, ways, but rather God comes to us in the most unexpected ways?  If God comes to us in the unexpected ways, will we hear God? If we only expect, want, God to come to us in a dramatic fashion, we may actually miss that God is, has been, and will always be with us. Elijah expected God in that earthquake, that wind, or that fire, but he did not expect God in that silence. Where do we expect to find God? Maybe God is in those places that we never expected, offering us comfort, care, and presence and we don’t even realize it. I read the following on social media the other day and I think that it is something we each  might want to think about, “ When I say, ‘I hope you’re okay, I mean; I know you’re not okay, but I hope that the sadness isn’t overwhelming you. That you can see cracks of light in the dark. That the shadows are letting you break and hurt and heal, without swallowing you up. And that you know you’re not alone, even in the moments when it really feels like you are.’” Maybe God is not those dramatic moments, but rather those moments when someone helps us to know that we are not alone, even when we feel lost and alone. Elijah found God in the silence, maybe we are challenged to find God in those unexpected places as well.


Prayer

God of gentle pastels and fiery reds, God of dramatic signs and quiet whispers, we come before you and ask that you open our hearts and our minds so that we come to see you in all your glory, the glory of drama and the glory of silence, help us to hear your voice in our lives leading us, supporting us, loving us, and calling us. We ask this in the name of the gentle shepherd, your son, Jesus. Amen

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