Reflections

Yes, we are now fully in the middle of summer, my favourite time of the year. This is the time when many of us go on holiday for a well deserved rest. A time of many sunny days and BBQs with friends and family but of course some unwelcome rainy days but much needed nature's blessing and gift of God to us.

A time when everything is bright and beautiful. However, even at this time of the year many of us may be going through a period of despair and a challenging time in our lives when everything seems to be going wrong. In this situation we might readily identify with Elijah as he fled for his life into the wilderness. Elijah had won a great victory over the prophets of Baal, but even with this display of the power of God he was intimidated by Jezebel. His terror was such that he even asked that he might die, as he sat alone in the bush and fell asleep. He presents a picture of complete desolation and hopelessness. Then an angel woke him and told him to get up and eat of the provisions that were laid before him. He did so, but then he lay down again. The angel came a second time, touched him and said, “Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.”

The fact that the angel came a second time to Elijah with more or less the same message is very significant. It reminds me of the part of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius which is called Repetition. This is where you go back to the same Scripture passage or reflection two and even three times, before you move on. The purpose of this is so that you may reach greater depth. This is where the spiritual food that sustains and keeps us going is likely to be found.

In the midst of his despair Elijah experiences the providence of God, indeed he finds consolation. So it is important to know that desolation is not a sign of failure, indeed it is much more a sign of spiritual growth. We might not run away into the wilderness in a physical sense, but there are many ways to withdraw emotionally and spiritually without even leaving home. When we find ourselves in the bush alone we need to do the opposite of what we feel like doing. We might feel like telling the angel to get lost, and want to go further out into the wilderness. Instead we need to look around for the provision that God has made through his Word and Sacraments, and join in the worship and prayer of the Church even more. Jesus, our companion, when we are driven to despair, helps us, through the friends and strangers we encounter on our path, to know you as our refuge, our way, our truth and our life. Amen.

Rev. Olasupo Ogunyinka

Interim Priest