Blogging Towards Sunday, September 18th
Bob Brylawski is preaching this week on this text which challenges the ways in which we expect God to communicate with us. The common expression spoken when people do something wrong is that they might get hit by a bolt of lighting. It articulates a vision of God’s power, righteousness and activity in the world. So here in this passage we see the great prophet Elijah, the only one remaining faithful to the Lord in his day, seek God’s voice. Or do we? If you look closer at the whole 19th chapter of 1 Kings 19 you see that Elijah is on the run: running from all his adversaries in particular the queen Jezebel who wants to get her revenge by killing the prophet that just won’t stop challenging her example.
It’s a passage commonly lifted up as beautiful by diverse and different people. It points straight at the paradox of who God is and how we think God will be. Elijah in the end is looking for God as much as he is running away from everything else. In his great fear, undoubtedly depressed state, and extreme anxiety God tells him to go out of the cave in which he’s hiding, to leave behind the fears, paralyzing doubts and immobilizing depression in order to make room for something else. Where Elijah, and us too, looks for a massive nearly pyrotechnic display of God’s extreme power, he is surprised to encounter the voice and presence of God in the most unexpected place. Not in the loud, banging, earth shaking earthquake, fire or wind; rather God sneaks up confidently in the silence that heals, liberates and renews. We live in a world of constant noise, common anxiety and emerging uncertainty. It’s seems much easier to hide in the caves our making, rather then to step our, risking the opportunity to glimpse and experience God’s passing. Yet maybe we’re merely missing out on what’s already going on around us because of our expectations? We say “what you see is what you get”. But could it be that when it comes to God we’re stuck more in a role of “what you get is what you want to see?”
· What word, image or phrase in this passage grabs your attention?
· How does that word, image or phrase touch your life and what you’re living or wrestling with these days?
· How do you hear the Spirit of God inviting you – or us as a church – to act, speak or be through this passage?