Reading: 1 Kings 19:9-18
Go ahead and get your Bible (side note- how often do we print scripture passages on paper instead of asking kids to bring their Bible or having a set for them to use regularly?)
I come from an old school, Black Catholic family from Louisiana. Mama and Papa had six kids, raised a seventh (me), and took care of every one of my 20+ cousins from the day their mom went back to work from maternity leave until the day the child was old enough for preschool. My aunts and uncles sent their kids to different preschools, but when it came to K-8, there was really only one choice: Holy Innocents. So from 1991 to 2002 the Anderson Clan (as we were known) were dropped off at my house, where we loaded into an old VW van, and my aunt would take us to school, stay for work, and then at 3:15 we would pile back into the van to pick up her two kids from preschool and go home.
One day we were on our way to pick up my cousins from preschool and something went down in the van. I don’t remember what happened, I don’t remember who did what to who, but I do remember my aunt making it perfectly clear that we had a butt whoopin waiting for us when we got home. Beliefs on corporal punishment aside, if you’ve ever seen a kid get that kind of news, it usually shocks them into silence.
In a moment of infinite wisdom I piped up: “Well you can’t spank me because Papa said only he could do that.” You would have thought all the oxygen in that van got sucked out the windows- if it wasn’t completely quiet before I opened my mouth, it definitely was now. My aunt said only two words for the rest of the way home.
We got home, quietly got out of the van, got in the house, quietly put our backpacks in a nice, neat row in the dining room, and then took our seats on “the couch”. Normally that couch was just another piece of furniture in the living room. When one of us got in trouble, however, it turned into the hot seat where we would have to sit and wait until Law and Order was over for Papa to discuss why we were in trouble and dispense justice. I’m almost 30 years old and I still can’t hear that dun dun without shuddering. But not today. I knew I was okay because Papa was going to stick up for me. My aunt came in and she told me to come over and right as soon as she did Papa stepped in.
I got in trouble from Papa, but the point was made- you don’t lay a hand on that boy, he’s mine.
The person we’re reading about today spent most of his time on earth saying stuff like I did in that van. He also spent most of his life running people out to kill him. He may have lacked tact, but he made up for it in faith. The man was gutsy because he knew that God was behind him.
Except that one time in the cave.
Go ahead and read (or re-read) the passage from today- 1 Kings 19 9-18. Elijah was running for his life yet again, and this time he got word- God was coming to have a little visit with Elijah.
And as the story goes, the fires came, the earth shook, the winds kicked up, but it wasn’t God coming for his visit.
All it took was a small whispering sound, and it scared the bejeezus out of Elijah because he knew it was God coming to remind him that he had a mission, that he was called. God came to re-invite Elijah to live his vocation.
Questions for reflection:
1. Elijah is proof that God is willing to re-invite us over and over again to minister to his people. Have you ever needed a second (or third, or fourth) invitation to return or rededicate yourself to ministry?
2. Elijah expected to experience God in the over-the-top displays of power but God chose to reveal himself instead as a small breeze. What do you make of Elijah’s reaction?
3. What started as a run for his life turned into something quite different. Not only is God revealed in a surprising way, it happens at a very sacred place (Mount Horeb is another name for Mount Sinai). Is there a place that you consider very special because it reminds you of your call to ministry? When was last time you visited?
Come back tomorrow, we’ll be reflecting on the call of Moses.