A seminary classmate of mine tells the story of taking a risky call to be pastor of a new church development in California. “It turned out badly,” he said. “The project tanked and I went into a deep funk. I felt like a failure.”
Another classmate of ours said to him, “You need a Broom Tree. Let’s go up to Bass Lake. Together they climbed Half Dome, a challenging peak in Yosemite National Park. The friends helped each other ascend the steep stairs and reach the summit. At the top of the peak the scenery was beautiful. The conversation was holy. God was present. “So much for fear of heights, or feeling like a failure.”
This morning we heard the story of Elijah sleeping under the Broom Tree. He was running in fear for his life. But there God reached out by feeding Elijah and preparing him for the journey to Mount Horeb. At Mount Horeb God showed Godself to Elijah in a stunning moment.
There was an earthquake. But God was not in the earthquake. There was a wind. But God was not in the wind. There was fire. But God was not in the fire. Finally there was the sound of sheer silence. It was then that Elijah heard the call of God with clarity on where to go and what to do.
Sheer silence. A still small voice. As we listen to the silence we hear the call of God.
This may be a hard concept. But ponder this. Silence takes our attention away from ourselves and helps us focus on God. Silence stops us from telling God what to do so that we can hear God telling us what to do.
I sense that this stepping stones journey is our Broom Tree. A time for Sunnyside to pause, be fed with Scripture, prayer and conversation and listen to the voice of God calling to us from the silence and guiding us into the future.