..does God speak to us in nature?..in the natural elements?..to show his power, his anger, perhaps to frighten us into right conduct? ..in forest fires in Portugal..tsunami’s in SE Asia..melting ice in Arctic..rising sea levels threatening South Sea Islands.. in 1st rdg Elijah went to Mount Horeb to meet with God..a God who never ever spoke to a human being face to face, but always & only through the elements.. for Elijah in a mighty wind? no..in an earthquake?..no..a devastating fire ?..no.. “..& [then ] there came the sound of a gentle breeze”.. the same breeze you felt & heard few moments ago on your way to Mass.. ..a gentle breeze, one of a number of meetings with your God today & everyday..
“I will hear what the Lord God has to say..” ; Lord have mercy “..a voice [ a breeze ] that speaks of peace..” ; Christ have mercy “..let us see, O Lord, your mercy.” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..my Elijah moment week last Wednesday on Beach Prayer Walks Retreat..a solitary moment at Flamborough Head; I left behind crowds tourists & my fellow pilgrims to face the elements..tremendous roar of sea as waves clashed with cliffs in force 8 gale..10mins away, on a hidden footpath round a calm corner into Bridlington Bay, I found wonderful views out to sea, as path followed edge of cliff on one side & edge of cornfield on other ..the prayer was in watching corn, full height, almost ready for harvest, as breeze helped it to dance, as if in unison with sea, wave after wave running through the standing corn.. & in background, out to sea, a bell buoy tolling gently on swell of sea..”& there came the sound of the gentle breeze” the divine presence at Flamborough, on your drive/ walk here to Mass, & now here among us, the gentle presence of Christ in person, in word, & in sacrament..our NT God who sent, risked, his Son to redeem power anger & fear of first chosen people, & to bring to birth the new dispensation, a new season of gentleness harvest & seasoning, where goodness & abundance is celebrated, & weakness & failure isn’t just tolerated, but loved into improvement.. ..where the gentle Jesus notices our struggle in this boat..”navus” [ navy] the body of this Church, the nave, the sitting space, the rowing space for the crew..you..our struggle to make progress..or on a headland in family or among work colleagues, struggling to stand up to the headwind, the batterings we each face at times..& our divine coastguard, having been watching us all the time, not judgementally to criticise our poor seamanship, but lovingly, to make sure we don’t go under in the face of life’s inevitable struggles, comes to us, walking on water..his prayerful words of reassurance “Courage! It is I! do not be afraid”..& Peter, ever blunt & immediate, is first to speak up & out “ if it is you, tell me to come to you”..he tests the person & the waters..& for him, & for you & I, there is only one word necessary..the divine invitation “come”..& he did, as we do, but the force of the wind brought a crisis of self confidence & faith..he began to think about what he [ he himself ] was doing, instead of trusting faithfully in what Jesus was doing, & doing well, through him.. ..he & we take fright, & bereft of faith, we begin to sink..begin to sink..& the prayer of emergency, as ever, sees the immediate response of our Saviour Jesus “Lord” save me..” “man woman monk of little faith, why did you doubt?..& why do you still doubt?.. ..& as they, Peter & Jesus, stepped into the boat notice together..Peter & Jesus..you & Jesus..the wind drops..to a gentle breeze..Bridlington Bay no longer Flamborough Head.. a wonderful story, true then & now, familiar life saving & life giving.. ..Ampleforth August 2017..Lesbos August 2017..fellow migrants us & them.. & poor Matthew has to have a Cadburys flake ending, as if it needed sweetening..would the crew really have bowed down & spoke a devout creed, a profession of faith?..or would they have more likely given the two of them a man hug & a warm blanket..fellow pilgrims not “seat belted in” lifejacketed passengers.. ..we have tasted the difference..& after real butter, we would never go back to margarine? ..would we ?..would we?..