Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hearing the Voice - A Sermon

Happy Father’s Day. To celebrate, I thought I’d tell you a story.

One Father’s Day a friend came to dinner at the home of a couple who had kids. The kids, of course, told the friend everything they had done for their dad on Father’s Day. After the kids had gone to bed, the adults were chatting, and the friend said, “So, it sounds like you had a good Father’s Day. What was the best thing about today? Was it when the kids brought you breakfast in bed at 7:00 AM and yelled “Happy Father’s Day!”

“No,” said the dad. “The burnt toast and soggy cereal was great, but that wasn’t it.”

“How about when you all went to Dairy Queen after church for ice cream?”

“No. Loved the Blizzard eating contest, especially after an Alka Seltzer, but that wasn’t it, either.”

“Then it must have been when they all decided they could wrestle you at the same time and jumped on top of you. You were all laughing pretty loud then.”

“That was really fun,” said the Dad. “And after some aspirin, the pain’s mostly gone. But it wasn’t the best thing.”

“Well, what was?” asked the friend.

The dad said, “Follow me.”

They went upstairs, and the dad peaked into the kids’ room. They looked at the kids sound asleep, not making a noise except for their breathing. After a few moments, the dad shut the door and said. “THAT’S my favorite part of today. It’s my favorite part of every day.”

NOW, They did all sorts of fun things that day – breakfast in bed, Dairy Queen, wrestling in the living room. So, why do you think the best part of the day was when the kids were asleep?

- so we can hear ourselves think

- know everyone is safe & sound

- quiet time with spouse

Lot of reasons. But sometimes it’s so you can look back at the day and think how lucky you are to be a parent. Sometimes you need that quiet time to put everything that’s happened all together in your head and see what it all mean and see what was important and what you could forget about. So ask your parents if they ever sneak into your room and just watch. Sometimes, it’s that quiet time when they’re looking at you that makes all the rest seem so good.

Funny thing is, that’s true with God, too. Remember that story with Elijah? People were trying to kill him so he ran away. And finally he ended up in a cave where God’s angel said, “God stand on the mountain, because the Lord is going to pass by.” You can bet he wanted to see the Lord because not many people are given that opportunity – especially after you just had to run for your life.

So there’s Elijah on the mountain when a giant wind comes along. Not just any wind. We’re talking Nor’easter. We’re talking hurricane. We’re talking F5 tornado. And in all that noise and power, Elijah knew – the Lord was not in it.

Then there was a massive fire – but the Lord was not in it.

Then there was an earthquake – now THAT’S power. But the Lord was not in it either.

Then – silence. And it was in that silence where Elijah heard the voice of God talk to him. That silence – sometimes it doesn’t seem like much. Sometimes it seems boring or unproductive, like nothing’s happening in it. But without it , there’s no hearing God.


Because this world is a busy place. Lots of noise and distractions. We get caught up in cars, music, sports, games. Sometimes we get caught up in power and think it’s like that wind and earthquake, so we look for meaning in power, like in weapons or money. There are so many things going on, and they all seem impressive.

But we won’t find God in it. It’s only when we sit still, let all that distraction go by us – when we realize God is not in it – that we can hear. It’s not easy. Elijah had been a prophet dedicated to God for years. I have a friend who’s a monk, and he said sometimes when he sits and prays by himself in the quiet – he falls asleep. Know what he says then? He figures God’s word to him was that he needed more sleep.

The point is, God doesn’t shout at you. And, as good as all the activities we do are, it takes time away from them to see how God blesses what we do. I would like to invite each of you this day to find some time by yourself. Not texting, not playing, not reading – just sitting there alone – and be with God. You probably won’t hear voices – but you will hear the silence. And that’s a pretty good start. Amen.