A few Sundays ago, one of the readings at mass was about the
prophet Elijah’s encounter with God on Mount Horeb. Elijah spent the
night in a cave and in the morning went out to stand on the mountain.
Then came a mighty wind that shook the foundations of the mountain,
but the Lord was not in the mighty wind. This was followed by an
earthquake and a fire but the Lord was not in either of these. Finally,
there came the sound of a gentle breeze and when he heard this, Elijah
went to the entrance to the cave to meet the Lord.
Earthquake, wind and fire have featured in the news this year: the
recent earthquake in Italy, Hurricane Harvey in the United States and the
fire at Grenfell Tower. When we see these kinds of events on the news,
some may ask where was God? Was it the same then as it was on that
mountain and God was not in the earthquake wind and fire? Some may
even go further and say God is nowhere.
I won’t claim for a second to be able to say why these kinds of things
happen, but when I see these events, I am often struck by the reactions
of people that follow these – there is more often than not an outpouring
of compassion. People rushing to do what they can to help.
Think back to the terror attacks in London and Manchester – the
many stories of people rushing to attend to the injured, taxi drivers
offering to take people home for free – despite the great distances
involved. It is in these acts of gentleness that I feel that God is to be
found. The Bible tells us that God is abounding in love and compassion
and that God created us in his image – so we too were created to be
compassionate and loving.
Whenever we encounter an act of kindness, we encounter God. God
being loving to us and God being loving through us. Acts of compassion
will always prevail and will eventually bring about change, a change that
can show that world that it is not the case that
Deacon Jon Walls,
St Bedes