Still small voice
1 Kings 19: 8-12
8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he travelled for forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night.
And the word of the Lord came to him: ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’
10 He replied, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.’
11 The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
“The King in his robes, bare headed, which was very fine. And after all had placed themselfs - there was a sermon and the service. And then in the Quire at the high altar he passed all the ceremonies of the Coronacion - which, to my very great grief, I and most of the Abbey could not see. The crowne being put upon his head, a great shout begun. And he came forth to the Throne and there passed more ceremonies: as, taking the oath and having things read to him by the Bishopp, and his lords (who put on their capps as soon as the King put on his Crowne) and Bishopps came and kneeled before him. And three times the King-at-armes went to the three open places on the scaffold and proclaimed that if any one could show any reason why Ch.Steward should not be King of England, that now he should come and speak.” Samuel Pepys on The Coronation of Charles II, April 23rd 1661
Coronations are noisy affairs, and that is deliberate of course. As well as structured fan faring, the anointed, crowned or elected wants the sense of acclaim. The loud shout, the cheers of the crowd. Remember how much fuss Donald Trump made about reports that is inauguration was not as well attended as that of Obama.
The still small voice, the NRSV describes it as “the sound of sheer silence”. This is where God seems truly to be met. Jesus withdrew to be quiet with God.
The sound of silence
It is a dangerous sound
It dares you to break it
With babbling inanity.
The most powerful prayer is not spoken but listened
The most moving moments are moments of stillness
The most searching word of God
Is not the one we drown out with acclaim
But the one we allow to echo around in our soul
Demanding a response.
Speak Lord, your servant listens
Not for drum roll and trumpet
What we learn of love we learn in holding silence together
Let us pray today