The shepherds sought God out on a silent night and were able to hear his still, small voice coming from a manger. The voice of God could be heard in the temple when a 12-year-old boy spoke to the religious scholars of that day. That still small voice spoke during the darkness of daytime as well, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” A tired and hurting woman, grieving the death of one she cared about, openly weeps in a garden beside an empty tomb. Suddenly, she heard that voice when he simply said her name.
Surely some will ask, and rightly so, “That was then, and this is now. Where in the world is God right now?” Well, remember that our God is a God who hides in order to make himself known. And God hides in the strangest places! In the Word of the Gospel proclaimed in human speech and attached to the humble elements of water, bread and wine. If we are to find God, we have to let God be God. We must seek God where God has promised to be found. God promises to be found in God’s Word and Sacrament.
The Lord comes to us in such humble means as a person’s voice, a sprinkling of water, a crumb of bread and the tiny fruit of the vine, and that is a humbling realization. When we suddenly realize that this gracious God is here, right now, coming completely and totally to us through the Word and Sacraments, it is awesome, frightening, terrifying, amazing, imposing and humbling!
The Rev. Rusty Davis is pastor of East Parish United Methodist Church, Salisbury, and People’s United Methodist Church, Newburyport. He is also chaplain of the Byfield Fire Department.