13th December: Still small voice? Liar! #adventbookclub

Advent CandleSpeak through the earthquake, wind and fire
O still small voice of calm
O still small voice of calm!

That’s what the hymn says, the last few lines of “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind”. But on reading today’s passage, I am less convinced. Oh, quite so, the Lord didn’t speak to Elijah though the wind or though the earthquake or through the fire, even though Elijah’s prayer for fire was answered 40 days before. Yes, the Lord spoke through the stillness.

But the message wasn’t of stillness and calm, the message was of conflict, endings, beginnings, death and destruction, survival. The message tells Elijah to act like a priest and prophet – to anoint new kings, to anoint his own successor. Anoint – to mark with oil. It’s one of those simple acts with a simple object which speaks volumes beyond itself. It is a sacrament, used in the Church of England to sign someone at their baptism (seldom still or calm in my experience), used to mark hands at ordination (and I didn’t feel still or calm then), to anoint someone at their confession or as they are dying (and although all may be outwardly still and calm then, the changes going on within are deeply profound).

We may well need to be still to hear the voice of God. But we are seldom called to do something which is still and calm – at least for us. Even if we manage to trust God to equip us for our calling, the challenges we face are immense, life changing, turbulent. Growing hurts. Growing up hurts. Changing is painful, and every so often we stop and ask “how much more?” We are reduced to Elijah’s state we read about yesterday, desperate for the basics of life. But I wonder how much we fool ourselves, each time we strive to “return to normal”.

That still, small voice calls us onward – do we follow?

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5 responses to “13th December: Still small voice? Liar! #adventbookclub

  1. Thank you. This blog post of yours has finally taken all the strain and stress from me… because now I can see that turbulence in life does not necessarily mean that I’m heading in the wrong direction – indeed, it could well indicate that I’m heading in precisely the _right_ direction!

  2. I suspect you’re right… certainly chimeswith my own experience!
    Been thinkign overnight – going to post another blog on Day 13, picking up on both your thoughts and becauseGodislove blog (not sure who that is)

  3. Pingback: 13th December: Still small voice? Liar! #adventbookclub « dorothy726blog·

  4. started to write it then changed my mind… in essence, I was saying it’s both-and. Life is a cycle of mountain-top experiences of the power of God followed by straight into the battle, often ending up bloodied and weary, wounded and vulnerable. At which point God comes to us with eat-drink-sleep-exercise and then, once we’ve begun to recover, takes us to the place where we can hear His still, small voice which gives us a subtly different perspective and then sends us back out in the battle…
    The hymn gets it both right and wrong. Right in that we need that drawing apart, that solitude, that opportunity to listen – and wrong in the implication that we should drift through life somehow floating above the pain and anguish which mires “the world”. Christ shows us otherwise… He enteres fully into that pain and anguish, reaches out with love and healing to all who come to Him – AND regularly takes time out to spend with Abba Father, listening to HIS voice, learning HIS agenda.

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