High River United Church of High River, Alberta
        

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A Message to Connect - April 28

Grace & Peace to you! 

Peace

 

David’s reflections on 1 Kings 19: 11-13  Elijah Meets God in Sheer Silence

I like to track airplanes with my smartphone app.  I follow their planned routes including, altitude, speed and flight time.  Recently I was waiting for a shipped parcel from Japan.  It was fun imagining what carrier the package might be on as I watched flights from Haneda and Narita on their way to Vancouver.  When I hear a plane over head, and if I have time, I’ll look it up on my app just to see what airline it is and where it’s going.  But here’s the thing… during these days, only rarely do I hear an aircraft flying overhead, the skies are quiet. 

 

“…and after the fire, a sound of sheer silence” (1Kings:19-12b).  These words from 1 Kings describe Elijah’s experience of meeting God, not in the mighty wind, not in the earthquake, not in the fire, (not in the pandemic?!) but in sheer silence.  The quiet skies… the silence…, would it be that in the absence of planes and the usual economic roar, God comes close to us in sheer silence?  Might it be that in the off-putting stillness, we might experience the presence of the Divine passing by?  Or that in the midst of all the lacks, losses and unwelcome spaces in our lives, God comes – we have the sense that God is near!  I mean… this is not usual at all.  Is there room to consider, if even for a moment in the midst of the alarm and disruption, separation and grief, silence and stillness, that we might have a hint of God’s spacious, silent presence?  If according to 1 Kings, God is NOT in the mighty wind, the earthquake or fire, does it not stand to reason that God is also NOT in the pandemic but rather, in the stillness and sheer silence… the quiet skies, the time alone in “our caves”, the meditations and prayers of our hearts and the empty spaces in our lives right now?  Might it be that this is where God chooses to show up?  We are already covering our faces (with masks), Elijah just gives us another reason—a covering to honour being in the presence of God.

 

I am mindful of the quiet skies and their unsettling reminder that our whole world is shut down and suffering economically, mentally and emotionally.  And yet… in the stillness could it be that God is already there and perhaps, it is a little bit easier for us to notice the mystery of God’s presence, love and compassion, not in all that we would consider mighty and powerful but in the stillness?  In the sheer silence?

 

Of course, there’s something of an invitation here and that is, to take up a relationship with the silence—to notice it, to welcome it, to embrace it.  Simple?  Yes.  Easy? Um… maybe not.  Perhaps the wisdom of Elijah is in the recognition that when we welcome the silence, we welcome the presence of God.  What would it be like, I wonder, to bring our awareness to the quiet this week?  Where is the sound of sheer silence?  As I think of parents working at home with small children, I suspect that sheer silence may be a commodity in short supply.  But… after the kids are in bed and under the sky of these warming nights, there is silence in the back yard, on the patio or by the reading lamp in the living room.  Perhaps it is there, in passing, as we move through our day and notice a silent field, the whistle of quills of a mallard in flight, and the quiet skies currently nearly empty of planes.

 

Consider a listening practice with Elijah this week, as we pay attention to the sheer moments of silence as they pass by.  Might we be aware that there, in the silence, is the presence of God. 

 

With love and blessings,

Rev. Susan & Rev. David

High River United Church – a community of help, home & hope

“Just to be is a blessing; just to live is holy.” A. Heschel


 

 


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