It was one of those surreal moments, when I should have been prepared for the light touch of God’s hand upon the world. Instead, my ignorance required a more blatant slap upside the head, so as to get my attention.
I was making a home communion visit to one of our homebound members in a local nursing home. Our church member slept through the visit, unable to be roused. So, I did what I often do. Recited the 23rd psalm … sang some verses of some of our old-time hymns … prayed. As I finished prayer, I heard some sound I couldn’t identify at first. Then after a few seconds, I realized it was harmonica music coming from down the hall. I found myself smiling for a moment, as I listened to the random melody that I didn’t recognize. I don’t listen to harmonica music often, but I found myself especially surprised to be hearing it in a nursing home. And then … I realized that I actually knew the melody being played … it was The First Noel. Now it truly felt surreal. I don’t think I have ever heard The First Noel played on harmonica … and certainly not played during the first few days of the summer season …
… and then, that little God voice in the back of my head … that “still, small voice” that Elijah heard on Mt. Horeb after going toe to toe with Queen Jezebel, spoke up a little louder. God’s reminder to Elijah was that it isn’t always the dramatic large screen events in life that communicate God’s presence and message. No, sometimes it is those quieter and less dramatic moments that offer us encounters with the divine. That was certainly the case this afternoon.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have loud tapes blaring in my mind, or equally boisterous movie soundtracks booming in my car as I drive around down to visits and meetings. It’s a wonder that I can ever hear the voice of God speaking with all the background noise with which I surround myself. But God finds ways to draw our attention away from the bold headlines of the front page, to the small but important byline messages on page 8 of section C in the paper. Have you tried lately to attune your ears to those quieter moments when God calls for your attention? You might be surprised at what you hear.