‘Elijah: Why Are You Here?’

QumranFrom today’s scripture and reflection:

“When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, ‘Elijah, why are you here?'”–1 Kings 19:13

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“In the book of Exodus, God manifests to all the non-prophets at Mount Sinai as unbearably loud noise. The people are terrified, and beg for God to speak only to Moses; their prophet can then translate what God says into words spoken at a reasonable decibel level.

But in the book of Elijah, when the prophet hears God ask him a question in words—Why are you here, Elijah?—he answers defensively, stuck in a repetitive loop of his own words, his own story about himself. Any further insight from God cannot get through. So God resorts to non-verbal communication.

Elijah hears the windstorm, the earthquake, and the fire. Then he hears God in the “still, small voice,” the faint sound of quietness. But he does not understand.

Does God manifest to us, sometimes, as quietness? Can we understand?”–Melissa Carpenter (see torahsparks.com)

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“He [Elijah] is bidden to return by the road he came. He is to anoint kings, and in due time appoint a prophet who will succeed him. An epiphany. But no ease, no relief. Something more, something surpassing expectation and effort. As Moses, so Elijah.”–Daniel Berrigan, The Kings and Their Gods

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