Reading: I Kings 19:8-18
Elijah's crisis and "the still small voice"
Elijah is in a mess.
Things had started out well. A new prophet on the scene, Elijah had some early success -- naming the evil of his time, denouncing the king and his policies of corruption, finding community with the poor, and bringing healing and new life to those who suffer. From there he went on to a public confrontation with the entire bureaucracy behind the king's misguided policies, and he utterly destroyed them. His rise was meteoric and he has became a sensation.
But then comes the reality check.
The king and queen put a price on his head. The powers that be start to turn public opinion against him. Rumours start to circulate. He is more vulnerable than he thought he would be. His career may be over as quickly as it started, and his fall seems as tragic as his rise was miraculous.
Did he make a mistake in the way he went about things? Is he really cut out for this? He once thought he was gifted and special; now he is just one more ordinary failure. Maybe he should just quit. Who was he to think he could ever be make a difference? And why does he feel so alone?
Is there any one among us who has never been in this position? Never felt this way? Never faced these doubts? Never asked these questions of ourselves?
Is it time to go home to mom and dad?
Feeling sorry for himself, defeated and utterly alone Elijah does not go home to mom and dad. Instead, he goes to Mt Horeb, the mountain of Yahweh.
In some ways, though, this is kind of like going home to dad, because Yahweh is the one who got him started in this prophet-thing, the one who taught him all he knows, the one who showed him the ropes and encouraged him to "go get 'em, tiger!"
So, looked at in the light of Fathers' Day, is there anything about Yahweh's "fatherly" response to Elijah in this critical moment that's worth our noting? Anything about how Father Yahweh helps save Elijah's self-image and career, that's good for us to think about?
Hope to see you Sunday.