Today Terry I want to talk about the bible – written two and a half thousand years ago by my ancestors who walked the land that is now being torn apart with bombs and rockets. One of my favourite sections of the bible tells of the prophet Elijah fleeing from violence, seeking refuge in a cave in the desert not far away from where the latest violence is raging.
Elijah experienced a memorable revelation of God at the entrance to that cave. First there was a mighty wind, then an earthquake, then a fire - none of which contained God. Then came a still, small voice with which God spoke to Elijah.
Almost three thousand years later, in the same place where Elijah walked and tried to hear God’s voice, mighty winds are blowing, carrying words of accusation and counter accusation as each side seeks to blame the other. And voices from around the world add to this mighty wind of human noise: protest and condemnation adding to words of grievance and self-justification. But God is not to be heard in these words, in this mighty wind.
And there is fire and earthquake, man-made, by rockets and bombs that fall, destroying buildings, hopes and lives. But God is not in the fires that burn from the tails of these missiles. And nor is God in the earthquake, as the ground shakes from the explosions these warring peoples inflict upon each other in this ancient, troubled land.
This is the land in which the still small voice was once heard by Elijah, after the godless wind, fire and earthquake had passed. This is the voice with which God still speaks to us. It demands that we humans treat one another with dignity and respect, no matter what our differences, and seek peaceful solutions to our conflicts.
But the still small voice is lost in the mighty wind of claim and protest, drowned out by the falling debris of the earthquake and the flames of explosion and destruction. Helplessly we watch and we wait, praying for the still small voice to speak to us after the wind, the earthquake and the fire as once it spoke to Elijah. But it will not be heard until the wind, the earthquake and the fire have passed and we, like the ancient prophets, make the effort to listen to it.