From your Pastor's Pen...
Imagine what our airports would be without "meeting points"--those geographically defined places where people meet each other or come together whenever there is an emergency.
Even though these "points" seem to be human inventions, I see that their origin goes beyond human pragmatism; the Bible speaks about this point in the context of the life and ministry of the prophet Elijah.
In a series of sermons here at IACC, we have talked about how crucial God's intervention was in the life of His people to lift them from moral decay and spiritual bankruptcy as a result of institutionalized and nationalized worship of the Canaanites' god Baal.
The case of Elijah goes in accordance with the famous Christian quotation that "God does not call the equipped, but He equips the called." Elijah's spiritual and leadership training started after his call. He was asked to go to the king's palace and declare that the God of heaven and earth was the true and the mighty Lord. After many incidents and miracles, Elijah runs to Mount Horeb (the Mount of God, I Kg. 19:8) and hides himself in a cave, and here we come across the concept of a meeting point.
Comparing some texts from Exodus 19 and I Kings 19, we can draw similarities between Moses' Theophanic experience on Mt. Sinai and that of Elijah's. Both go to Mr. Horeb, both enter a cave and the same Lord God passes by both Elijah and Moses. To answer Elijah's complaints, God displays a wind, earthquake, and fire as He did before to Moses and the people, indicating his power and sovereignty. When Elijah is in panic, when he loses his power and sense of spiritual direction, he is instructed to make a backtracking point from where everything has begun to gain perspective of his own faith and experience.
Elijah's forefathers' experience and the manifestation of God's power, wisdom, and balance on Mt. Horeb has been so central to the people that they also had to go to that meeting point, embodied in the prophet's experience. In other words, the people were being called to be rejuvenated in the power and the centrality of the law.
Meeting points are also crucial in our lives on personal and communal levels. Let us recall our experiences where we lose our perspectives, our paths, and our objectives. Financial crisis, economic recession, loss of a loved one, unfulfilled dreams, empty homes, church membership shrinkage, fear of ethnic identity loss, 97 years of the psychological burden of a victimized nationÉand still many experiences. And let us ask ourselves: what do we do?
The biblical message prompts us to go to the point "from where everything has started." In other words, if we have or at least we know our "meeting points" where we can refocus and find our true selves, our Creator and our true national and ethnic identity, then we have hope. Our reference points will help us reboot ourselves and allow God to restart his "operating system" in us, so that by being attentive to the "still gentle whisper" we will know why way to go and how to make ourselves instruments of love and service in the hands of our Lord.