It is one of those stories that grips our attention drawing us into the heart of the matter. A prophet by the name of Elijah goes to the mountaintop to discern God (1 Kings 19). The Message version tells it this way,
“Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.” A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.
When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, “So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?”
It is a portrait of a moment captured of pure reverence. Elijah, in the midst of a whisper from God, is transported into the very presence, or fullness, of God. The scripture says, he stood there. What else is one able to do in the midst of such majesty? How does one speak into the holiness of a moment without stealing the awe, the wonder or the profound presence that is felt?
Reverence is a word that has a wide range of perceptual realities. In this passage, it takes wind, earthquakes and fires—the flashy and loud—to pass by to reach the center of awe. And once the noise is quieted down, when the silence remains, all that is left is the Ruach of God—the Spirit or the breath of God. It isn’t loud; rather, it is nuanced. It isn’t forced, it is discerned. It is a voice that whispers to us, What are you doing here? As the question floats, it invites us to discern. What are we doing here? Yes, it seems that this is the crux of the question of reverence—the perception of it as well as the experience of it—What are we doing here? This week, let’s explore the reverence and as we do, it is only fitting that you stop the noise around you and simply sit in the silence of the sacred now…what do you hear?