Sunday, April 12, 2020

Learning from Easter 2020’s Silence

He said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
 I Kings 19:1-13

If Easter sort of crashed for you, cheer up. Maybe we can learn something.  I tried but could not connect with a church’s live cast of an Easter Service this morning. I was, instead challenged to affirm Easter and worship God without. Without trumpets, and singing the Hallelujah Chorus, or Christ the Lord  Is Risen Today. Along with an Easter throng. Or without a hundred other things. 

The words Thomas Keating, that “God’s first language is silence” are both haunting and helpful. I look for God in the wonders and signs, the pageantry and splendor of Easter worship at church, or even the quiet beauty and joy of an outdoor, sunrise gathering. 

Today, it’s the Presence in the sound of sheer silence that brings comfort, consolation. Elijah, the prophet of the supernatural, the one who called down God’s power for all to see, also ended up running for his life, exhausted, hiding out in a cave. And though the lesson is not easy and will not be found on the Prosperity Gospel Channel, there are times when the Presence can’t be found in the thermodynamics of nature or a sound and light show webcast.

Holy One, when all my attempts to recreate the right Easter and to feel your presence fail, give me grace to know your loving presence in the sound of stillness and silence. 

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