The audio at the start of the homily today is from the video “Elijah” by Dan Stevers. Elijah in I Kings 17-18 is presented as the dude – the great hero of the people of Israel. He is able to break a 40 month drought, beat a chariot in a 30km race, raise the dead, call down fire in a contest with 450 prophets of the false God Ba’al. He is a verifiable super-hero and I suspect that most of the young children in Israel would want to be Elijah when they grew up. So it comes as a shock in I Kings 19 that his whole world-view has fallen apart. He flees for his life after Queen Jezebel threatens his life, going first to Beersheba in the southernmost point of the next Kingdom of Judah – well beyond the powers of King Ahab and Jezebel from the northern kingdom of Israel. But then leaving his trusted servant there, Elijah heads out into the wilderness and calls out to God to take his life because he has had enough – perhaps a little like Moses in Numbers 11. But instead the Lord provides food and drink for Elijah to give his strength for the journey. Elijah then sets out on a pilgrimage even further south across the Sinai peninsula to the mountain of the Lord – Mount Horeb (also called Mount Sinai). There he finds the cave that Moses had gone to when he wanted to experience the glory of the Lord (Exodus 33). The Lord first questions Elijah and then promises to make his presence felt. While Elijah waits on the side of the mountain, three mighty signs that normally signal the presence of the Lord are unleashed upon the mountain – the wind storm that is so strong that rocks are split and shattered (the sounds of the storm); an earthquake that continues to break apart the mountain (the feeling) and a fire that can be seen. But despite these mighty signs that can be heard, felt and seen, the Lord is not present in any of these signs and wonders. Instead Elijah hears the faintest whisper of a voice – literally ‘the sound of fine silence’ [qôl dĕmāmâ daqqâ].
Recorded at St Paul’s, 8am (13’17”)
Sunday 19, Year A. I Kings 19:9a,11-13a; Matt 14:22-33