A reflection on the readings for Proper 14A by the Rev. Karla Jean Miller
I do not own a GPS. I do have an app on my Iphone that can give me step by step directions when I am driving, but it is difficult to follow while driving, since there is no voice. It doesn’t matter though, because
I am someone who often gets lost, while out driving by myself.
This often becomes a liability for me as I cruise the villages and towns surrounding Boston--just when I am trying to find a new place. The GPS on my phone becomes useless, because more often then not, it seems that there are always roads closed, non-existent roads, roads with no signs, roads that have multiple names...
and you wonder to yourself,
“What am I doing here? “
I am not the only one this happens to, right?
This happens in my life, too.
Whether the result of decisions or unconscious actions,
or emotional choices,
More often than I like to admit,
I think to myself,
“What am I doing HERE?”
I imagine this was the question that Elijah was wondering about when he found himself
backed into a cave, hoping his skin was safe. He had been quite productive, on behalf of the Lord, by getting rid of the prophets of Baal who were serving under Queen Jezebel, and now, in spite of it all, his very life is threatened. What happened? Wasn’t he doing what he was supposed to do? How could have he ended up where he was, alone, scared, not knowing where to turn or go next?
And so imagine,
Being asked that very question by the One whom you are serving.
In a dream, God asks Elijah, “What are you doing here?”
If I had been Elijah in that dream, I would have said to the Lord,
“Well, God, why don’t you tell me WHAT THE HECK I AM DOING HERE!!!!”
In fact, that is sort of what Elijah does, by describing all he has done for the Lord of Hosts, and how he is being chased by those who seek to take his life.
After listening to Elijah’s defense, God gives Elijah a strange directive--to go outside of the cave, and expose himself, for God will pass by. In ancient Israel, if you remember, to be in the presence of God meant death. Death by the presence of God, or by the soldiers of Jezebel are Elijah’s only options. He chooses the former.
And indeed, the presence of God does pass by,
not in a mighty wind, or in a roaring fire,
but in sheer sweet silence.
And in that sweet silence,
a Voice asks again,
“What are you doing here?”
Again, Elijah answers, with the very same response he had before, noting that his life was in danger.
After experiencing the presence of God, Elijah is still not able to hear the depth of the question. I wonder if God is asking Elijah to reflect upon his experience, to wonder, to dissect his actions and recent past in the wake of being in God’s presence?
It’s a good question to reflect upon, don’t you think?
Indeed, where are you? What ARE you doing here, in this very time, this present moment?
How did you get where you are?
Are you lost,
are you on track?
How do you live in the moment,
but remain conscious of being connected with the divine and all of creation?
Where is the sweet silent presence of God in your life?
We journey through the depth and thickness of our daily living,
with so many demands, and responsibilities, and decisions...
that it is easy to push forward, get through our days, a glass of wine, a baseball game, a t.v. show--which is all well and good.
we need to just stop--
before we get backed into a cave,
and simply listen for the Voice in the silence,
discern, to reflect, and to wonder,
“What are you doing here? How did you get here? Is this where I need to be? How is it that I am being called, as God’s servant in this world? How is it that I am being called as God’s disciple?”
What are YOU doing here?
May the silence of God visit you,
and give you the space and sweetness you need,
to listen and reflect.