St Mary’s Church Coddenham

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From The Rectory – In The Silence

by | Aug 10, 2023 | Coddenham Church

St Marys Coddenham

The only thing necessary for evil to flourish, is for good men to do nothing.

Elijah is locked in a struggle with Queen Jezebel; God’s word or the beliefs and values that Jezebel promotes.  It is a long-running story and at one point (1 Kings 19), feeling totally overwhelmed, Elijah goes on the run.  Faced with the constant barrage of Jezebel’s hostility, Elijah closed his social media accounts; changed his phone number and walked out.  Sitting disconsolately in a seedy road-side cafe, feeling utterly defeated, God called him.  Well, actually it was a friend who’d tracked him down and while Elijah poured out his troubles his friend bought dinner.  Encouraged by this, Elijah kept moving.  OK, I’ve modernised the story slightly (see 1Kings 19:1-9) but there are so many ways today that people can feel overwhelmed; so many ways to be ‘got at’.  It is also worth remembering that angels appear in many guises too.

The Elijah story is a stormy one; the original earthquake, wind and fire. (1 Kings 19:11-12).  Death and destruction occurs on an uncomfortably large scale.  But the telling fact is that God is encountered not in the noise, but in the silence.  It is only in the sound of sheer silence, only when stripped of all other distractions, that Elijah really encounters God.  It is in the silence that Elijah is finally able to recognise the closeness of God, and learn that he is not alone.  God is with him, and has been throughout his ordeal. Had he but known it, he still has friends All the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and mouths that have not kissed him (v 18)

Political murders are mercifully rare in this country; but many find speaking the truth, seeking justice or even just challenging accepted wisdoms, generates a hostile response from many quarters.  Nor do such hostilities necessarily come from those in authority.  Amidst the noise and seeing the pressure others face, no wonder many keep silent in public, even as their hearts struggle.  At his lowest ebb, Elijah encountered God, not in the noise, but in the silence; many still do.


Rev’d Philip Payne


The Notice Sheet for 13 August 2023 can be found here


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