Recently I read from Boyd* that in this highly social world we live in it is better that we respond when there is something going in the world and that response matters over content of that response. To respond and not react each a difficult line to walk and yet in today's world we are told that people value reaction over response. I am here to CALL us into a different way of being, one in which looks for responsible response over reaction.
In our passage from Kings below, we meet Elijah after he reacted and fled. After he asked to die in a cave and yet was offered nourishment by God. After he realized that God was not in the earthquake or the fire but that God was in the gentle whisper. God is in the response not the reaction.
Today, we awake to more news about a Mass shooting in a Texas Church just after a recent attack in Manhattan. We are losing lives across this country due to violence, mental illness and extreme views. God's voice can be found in the aftermath of these events but if God's people, God's mouth pieces and hands and feet, are being silent then God's presence is lost to the world. If we Christians continue to live our lives as these events don't need anything more than simply our prayers than God becomes nothing but a distant, absent and worst unreliable worthless God. That isn't who my God is. My God is a God who loves us. Who offer a Prince of Peace to live among us and humbly offer forgiveness to those who believe.
We cannot be silent. For in this Kings passage Elijah was told to go back and proclaim. In the whisper Elijah was told to go and be the voice of God. And Elijah did so with gusto. Notice who God was a gentle whisper not a silent voice. We are called to stand not just for those who died due to unnecessary violence but for all those in the future who will be victims if we do nothing.
I am not calling for us to go gun free. I am not calling for us to send immigrants out of this country. I am calling us to look at our society and to question, if we call ourselves a Christian, is this a reflection of the Kingdom? Surely it isn't. Surely our call is to truly bring the Kingdom of God around us - where there is no Jew or Gentile, free or slave, woman or man but instead a place where all can be uplifted for their gifts from God. I strongly encourage you to think about the voice of God. Where is God in the world around us? God is in all of us. God is in you and me. God's voice is our voice when we call each other out and encourage one another to live into the Kingdom - offering more than basic needs but instead moving aside greed for love and engulfing one another in the grace of the Kingdom. Let's begin to build the Kingdom in the here and now. Speak God's voice and don't let the voice of violence, the voice of hate, the voice of war become the only voice people turn to.