Dear St. Luke Community,
I’m pleased to begin with some good news. This Sunday we will receive three new members: Scott and Rebecca White, and Mary Molander-Scull. We’ll also celebrate birthdays and anniversaries and receive some good news from our treasurer, John Lenser. It feels a bit awkward to begin this letter on such a positive note knowing how much has gone wrong, just this week alone, beginning with Beirut.
This period in time is strange, sad and challenging to say the least. Many people are tired and worn out.
The lectionary passage this week (1 Kings 19: 9-18) reflects many of our moods: feeling burned out, isolated, helpless and restricted in what we can and cannot do. Elijah, who is one of God’s greatest prophets, is feeling all of that and more. All the usual dramatic ways that God shows up, (like fires and earthquakes) are devoid of God. Instead, Elijah experiences God in silence. But in this passage, Elijah does not walk away changed as Jacob did in last week’s scripture. God essentially says to Elijah, it’s time to retire early. (That will change in 2 Kings, but for now, this is where God leaves it.)
We see a lot of awful dramatic events all around us these days, and many people believe God is responsible. But what if, like in this scripture, God is is none of the destruction? What if God shows up in the silence that takes place in the aftermath? The aftermath is when people are in need of comfort, in need of other people, in need of grace. Perhaps God’s “still small voice” is not a voice at all, but a kind of knowing. A wordless knowing that we’re not alone, best felt in silence.
That’s a space we can help nurture for ourselves and especially for others when they’re experiencing a particularly tough time. Instead of reminding them what they have to be grateful for, or spiritually bypassing over what is dark and difficult, perhaps we can just sit in silence with them, just as God sits with us in our silence.
Elijah didn’t walk away changed in this particular scripture. But maybe that’s the point. What if we gave up trying to be anything other than who we are, and instead chose to just be?
Of course that’s not the end of the story, or our experience, but what if we all just sat with that for a moment, in silence, letting God’s presence be enough, for today, for now.
I’ll see you Sunday,