March 23 2020
Morning! Welcome to Zeph’s 10am gathering. It’s Jenny taking the lead today. As I used to do as a lecturer, I’ll wait 5 minutes for everyone to arrive, but in the meantime, perhaps you’d like to reflect on these words.
“They can hear the birds in Wuhan”
(Quote from Facebook)
Imagine standing in a busy city street, with a constant stream of cars, buses and mopeds surging by, punctuated by blaring horns and screeching brakes, while people swirl around you, their conversations blending into an unending babble, broken by the music spilling out of shops and restaurants.
Or imagine that you are stood in the middle of Holiday Club, with all the noise and chaos of 70 children bringing their enthusiasm and creative energy to junk modelling, building their bases, making friends and enjoying the freedom of the summer holidays. Constantly moving bundles of humanity, pulling your attention in many different directions at once.
Now imagine the silence brought by thick fresh snowfall, blanketing and obscuring everything, and deadening all the normal sounds of life.
Or imagine waking up early on a still summer’s morning, before the rest of the world is awake, and hearing, on the still air, through the open window, the sounds of the birds singing.
“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper”. (1 Kings 19: 11b-12)
The quote from Facebook, “They can hear the birds in Wuhan”, struck me as being true in two different ways. The writer simply meant that, with everyone staying indoors, and no cars on the roads – normal city life suspended – it was quiet enough that the birds could be heard. But there’s a second meaning. The slowing and quietening of people’s frenetic lives had given the space and time for them to hear the birds.
The fact is, that our lives today are fast-moving and crammed with activity. We sometimes don’t have enough time to notice the birds singing……. Or to hear God’s gentle whisper.
Father God It is hard to slow down, to put aside the busyness that seemed to give our lives so much of its meaning. Help us.
Father God, the wind and the earthquake and the fire outside our doors and on our TV screens and news feeds are deafening. Help us to hear your gentle whisper.
Father God, We know people for whom this is a scary, unsettling and worrying time. Lord, we name them before you now. Help us to help them.
Today, may you remember that whatever storm or fire is raging around you, God is there. His voice will be the quiet one, telling you He loves you, and that He’s with you in the storm. Still your heart and mind, so can hear him whispering in your ear. See what he has to say to you today, here, now.
This is the point, at our church, when tea and coffee downstairs is announced. Feel free to grab a mug from your kitchen and hang around for a bit, enjoy a chat, ask for prayer. I shall hang around too. If you have to get back to work/homeschooling, or just want to enjoy the silence, this is your chance to make a break for it.
Join us on our Facebook Page for tomorrow’s Zeph Daily with Julia…