The lyrics of a favorite wisdom school chant go like this: Speak through the earthquake, the wind and the fire…ohhh, still small voice of Love. The story on which it’s based is familiar (from 1 KGS 19: 9-16). It begins with a frequent introduction to a prophetic text: “The word of the Lord came to him…” with a specific message that would make almost anyone run to be at the promised site where “the Lord will be passing by.” The question engendered by that line is whether or not “almost anyone” would be able to perceive the presence of the Lord since it was not even close to the way anyone would expect. The Lord does not appear in any extraordinary way – strong wind, earthquake or fire – but rather in a ‘tiny whispering sound” – a breeze, most likely.
I think we often dismiss messages from God because they come wrapped in ordinary conversation or thoughts during the day and because we don’t consider ourselves able or worthy of receiving such communications from God. I remind myself of that some days when my blog posts turn out quite different from the way they began and surprise me with the content. It’s nothing earth–shattering but I believe that in some way God has more of a hand in the message than I expect. Other times I hear something in the text of the day’s reading that fairly shouts out something I have never noticed before or something that validates an experience I have just had in interactions with other people. Being in a situation like what is happening here in Maine where almost 100 people are gathered to “seek the Lord while He may be found” provides fertile soil for that kind of happening. I actually felt God’s question to Elijah this morning when God said, “Elijah, why are you here?” It stopped me cold until I realized that Elijah’s answer was mine as well. “I have been most zealous for the Lord,” he said. I found more confirmation from Psalm 27 that followed. “I long to see your face, O Lord!”
Elijah’s situation and mission were very different from and more difficult than mine but the prompt for a response was clear and did its work. I will go through the day reflecting on the question of why I’m here and what I will take away from the experience. But I will not seek clear and bombastic messages from God. I will just wait in stillness for something to arise and/or be attentive to the “chance” encounters of the day as the potential for seeing that God’s face is everywhere!