Sunday, August 9, 2020

Homily: God's Appearance

One of my top 5 favorite Scripture passages is today’s first reading. 

God not in the wind, not in the Earthquake, not in the fire…

After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.  When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak.


Do we want God to be loud?  Do we want God to be earthquakes and fire and wind?

Certainly that is how his appearance is described throughout the Old Testament, most notably on Sinai.  Thunder, wind, earthquakes and fire.  What is going on there?  I have no doubt that there was fire, thunder, terror, fear, earthquakes, smoke etc. 


So how is it that God is a whisper?

I think we can safely say that what is happening is perfection coming into contact with sin.

God is perfect, unchanging…. He never left us in the sense that He is always sustaining everything that exists, always in every moment willing the existence, but also He can be said to have left in the sense that He’s not present in the world of the Old Testament in the way that He was in the Garden.

and so when He comes back into the story of humanity…that is an epic clash that produces thunder, smoke, earthquakes, lightning, etc.

one analogy: An asteroid travels silently through space, but when it hits the Earth’s atmosphere, there is fire, smoke, thunder and potentially earthquakes and explosions if it makes it to the Earth’s surface.  So is God when he appears in our world.

Or, to use another analogy, just as two opposites air masses colliding can create a thunderstorm so it is when the perfect God encounters the brokenness and sin of humanity.

So although there is smoke and fire and lightning, that is a result of perfection coming back into our atmosphere.  Those things are effects of God drawing near, but God is not in those fireworks.


We know that God ultimately has the plan of being able to be in our presence without the accompanying pyrotechnics.  He ultimately takes on human flesh, thus he’s able to walk about and be in our midst in a way that doesn’t produce the accompanying effects that we see in the Old Testament.  God “hides” his glory in human flesh. 

In conclusion, Christ is stillness.  He is peace.  He is rest for the weary.  Let us seek refuge in Him away from the pyrotechnics of our world on a daily basis.