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Pause for thought - Sunday 11th July 2021

It seems that life is getting back to a sense of freedom of movement and life without a mask! We will be free to move around this country and others without restriction.

But I’m not sure I’m ready to say YEAH! just yet.

For many of us, living through the pandemic has meant letting go of life rhythms we’ve known and counted on—people, places, and habits that once grounded us. This letting go, for some, has led to significant isolation, while for others it’s led to the rediscovery of walkable neighbourhoods and creative ways of staying connected. And while there are many things we miss—for me in-person Sunday worship is first among many; even at its best, live stream worship is no substitute for being with the physically gathered community! —we have grown accustomed to our forced flexibility. And perhaps are less apt to take things for granted.

Where do we expect to find God these days? How do we expect God to show up for us?

The Scriptures record many stories of how, through the ages, people and prophets have had to come to terms with new ways of understanding who God is and how God might show up among us. The quote above comes from the story of the prophet Elijah, whose battle against Israel’s worst king on record—King Ahab—and his evil wife Jezebel had taken its toll. Elijah tried many ways to find what God was saying to him, he saw many signs, but it was when Elijah is commanded:Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Elijah, bone weary, looks toward the mouth of the cave.

This is what happens next: There was a great wind, so strong 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… (1 Kings 19:11b-13) It’s when Elijah hears that SILENCE—so deep, so pervasive that it tugs at his ears—that he wraps his mantle around his head, crawls to the mouth of the cave, and he stands up before the LORD. Elijah has been around God long enough to learn that God may just show up in ways we least expect—not through outsized events or huge natural phenomenon or feats of strength, but in the form of sheer silence (“still small voice”).

The answer to the question: WHERE HAS AND WHERE WILL GOD SHOW UP FOR US DURING THE PANDEMIC and in the days ahead? He may surprise us. As we journey on may we do so cautiously. The story of Elijah invites us to not come to conclusions too quickly about where we can find God, but to remain open to how and where we see God manifested during this vulnerable time. To listen for that “still small voice” which can only be heard when we learn to filter out all the other loud, boisterous, public, competing voices which vie for our attention.

Have a really blessed and peaceful week, and know that you are special and loved by God.

With my love and prayers. Rev Pat

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