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Small, Silent, Still

Consider the rebellion of the Israelites at Mount Sinai (Ex 32). The God Who had once awed them with thunder and lightning had grown mysteriously quiet, still, and slow to respond. They had been waiting for days but had no sign of Moses, His messenger. Time to take things into their own hands. So they craft a god to their liking, one they can see and to which they have immediate access. Then they set themselves to such loud revelry that poor Joshua mistakes it for a battle down below. “There is noise of war in the camp,” he innocently says to Moses. No, it is just the din of worldly worship.

Elijah encountered the same in the prophets of Baal. (see 1 Kgs 18) Their worship was a spectacle. They hopped around the altar, slashed themselves with knives and swords, raved and cried aloud to their god. They sought a swift and big response but received none. It was the quiet, patient prayer of Elijah that won the true God’s hearing. Later, at Mount Sinai, the prophet learned first-hand that God is not in the big and loud and swift – not in an earthquake or the fire or the wind – but in the still small voice. (see 1 Kgs 19)

We are no different than the Israelites. We require that God be as we want Him: big, loud, efficient. Big and obvious, so that we can see Him and not have to walk by faith. Loud, so that we can hear Him and not be taxed by silence. Efficient, lest we have to endure any waiting. Our worship and culture follow suit. Indeed, few things are more obvious than our culture’s addiction to spectacles, noise, and instant gratification.


Read more at The Catholic Thing. 

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