What do an Astronaut and a Prophet Have in Common? (1 Kings 19:1-18)
No, that’s NOT the beginning of a lame joke. (please press >> to see more)
Today we reversed the readings of the Narrative Lectionary: next week our anniversary speaker, The Rev. Kerrie Perry will be reading what was on the list for this week.
This week we looked at Elijah. He was at the height of his “career” as a prophet. He’d called down the fire of God, successfully immolating the sacrifice (and the altar….and the grain….and the water in the ditch….). All that noise, show and spectacle proved to the crowds that God was there. Elijah also…um…well…um… set the sword to a whole pile of Baal’s prophets. (Not a pleasant thing to think about, but it’s there.) With his enemies “smitten” (there’s a great old word), he should be happy, happy happy.
But he wasn’t—because Jezabel (who was a devout follower of Baal) threatened to kill him. So he took off for the wilderness and …well…um….kinda broke down. He crawled under a broom tree (which I re-enacted by crawling under a pew and lying there while speaking) and asked God to take his life. (Ironic….what he feared Jezabel was going to do to him, he asked God to do.)
Have you ever been that low when you should have been feeling elated?
At the height of his “glory” (blood soaked as it was) Elijah is in a low place emotionally. I’d say he was burned out (forgive the pun) and depressed.
Kinda like Buzz Aldrin 6 years after the moon walk.
Go ahead, do a Google search on him (“Buzz Aldrin+Depression if you’re doing the search). Read about his struggles before and after he went to the moon. He didn’t have a queen trying to kill him—but he had a mother who took her own life just a few months before he was set to blast off: the reason—she couldn’t handle her son’s impending fame. He didn’t have blood on his hands, but he had a father who didn’t agree with or understand much of how Buzz chose to live his life. And six years after he was in a ticker tape parade hailed as a national hero….he was working at a car dealership in Beverley Hills. (He quit after six months having not made a single sale).
So what’s the point in all of this?
Sure, life goes off the rails sometimes. We can get disappointed when things fall apart. But God doesn’t leave us. God is in that still small voice that we hear—when everything is quiet, when the storms pass by—that little voice in our head that redirects our steps. That little voice that asks that one question that encourages us and moves us on: in Elijah’s case it was “What are you doing here?”
God also sends people to help us get back on track–like the angels that fed Elijah in the wilderness so he could go on his journey away from “the here” to “there.”
What about Buzz?
Well, his life fell apart–went down an even darker hole than what I’ve mentioned here–which you will see if you do the search. But in the end, when things were quiet—when he hit rock bottom—when the situations of his life forced him to lie under that broom tree, he cleaned himself up….sobered himself and gave life a shot again. He faced his adversities and he moved forward.
Where is “here” for you? What are you doing here?
What do you hear in the silence?
Who feeds you in the wilderness places?
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