Half term has been fun…an opportunity to take a break from the usual routine and do life a little differently – including hanging out with thirteen 3-5 year olds for two hours every morning and think about Elijah!
Children are awesome…they got totally into the story and I think pretty much all of them could now tell you that Elijah went to king Ahab and told him there’d be no rain because he wasn’t living life in a good way…that the king got cross so God told Elijah where to hide and Elijah was fed by ravens because there was no food. That when his water ran out God told him to stay with a lady who didn’t have much food but because she fed Elijah it never ran out and that when her son died with Gods help Elijah brought him back to life! They’d then tell you that Elijah went to see King Ahab and they decided to find out whose God was real. Baal (Ahab’s god) didn’t answer but Yahweh (Elijah’s God) sent fire and burnt up the sacrifice. They’d know that Elijah had to run away because the queen wanted to kill him so he hid and an angel brought him cake! Finally they’d tell you that God spoke to Elijah and Elijah had a good moan about how awful his life was! That God then told him to go to a mountain where Elijah survived a hurricane, earthquake and fire before God whispered to him “what are you doing here” and finally gave Elijah a whole new mission to focus on!!! That’d be their version of an ancient prophet and his adventures…
We didn’t talk lots about what it all might mean or what the wisdom was in all of those moments but one thing we did realise is that Elijah’s life is full of ups and downs…amazing things happen, mind-blowing events that lean towards the surreal! He encounters kings and queens as well as penniless widows with dying children…he dines with angels but he also deals with death threats, famine and isolation; he becomes incredibly depressed to the point of praying that his life would end!
I’ve no idea what’s been thrown your way as you’ve journeyed through your story but I’m sure there have been times of happiness and excitement…occasions where you’ve been like “I can’t believe I just did that…” Its also likely you’ve had moments of sadness and tears and despair…where you’ve felt fearful and alone and wondered “what an I doing here?!”
What’s kept you going? What’s kept you moving forward? In the Elijah story there’s constantly a voice; a “word”; a whisper that inspires and encourages Elijah to keep going.
The ancient poem that begins the bible describes this voice as God, a God who speaks the world into being.
Abraham Heschel, a Jewish philosopher and civil rights activist alongside Martin Luther King, once said “words create new worlds”…if you’ve ever read CS Lewis or JK Rowling you’ll know how true that is!
There’s a word, a voice, a power, an energy at work throughout the Elijah story which speaks, that whispers…a word that moves Elijah forward into new adventures. What if that same voice is the one that inspires us with new adventures, that whispers new ideas into being within us? What if that same force or energy is what propels us into action and encourages us to keep going…what if there really is an energy at work within our world and we’re all part of the story in this ever expanding universe, all trying to understand what it is we’re doing here!!