“Then the Lord said, "Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord;
the Lord will be passing by."
A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord
– but the Lord was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake – but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake there was fire – but the Lord was not in the fire.
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.
1 Kings 19:11-12
Dear Parents and Friends of St. Michael’s School,
I am hesitant to date myself, but as a child growing up in Northern Wisconsin, I didn’t spend much time watching TV, primarily because we only had two TV stations – ABC and CBS – and, yes, they were in black and white. Since then, we have been “blessed?” with hundreds of TV channels, and if we still can’t find something to watch, we turn to Netflix, HBO, or other outlets to fill our time and our space with noise. And with the ability to create playlists of our favorite music, it is possible to have tunes playing everywhere and anywhere we are, always drowning out the dreadful sounds of silence.
This need to fill the awkward moments of silence plays out when we are having a conversation with friends and there is a pause in the discussion. Our immediate response is nervousness so we change the topic, ask a question, or engage in small talk – anything is better than sitting quietly. It seems more and more that every moment of every day must be filled with noise. It seems, too, that reasonable, respectful noise is not sufficient – our entertainment must be at full volume, and our speech follows suit.
The problem is, with this cacophony of sound, it is impossible to listen, and if we cannot listen, we will never be able to hear the voice of God speaking to us to give us comfort, consolation, and direction. So, for these 40 days of Lent, our students and staff have made a commitment to try to turn down the volume a bit, just in case our Lord needs to tell us something. During the day, in our classrooms we strive to speak at a Level 2 volume, which is a low but audible voice, or a Level 1 volume, which is a whisper. When moving from class to class, at the lunch tables, in the office lobby, or waiting in the pick-up line, our goal is Level 3, which is conversational, as if at a dinner table, but certainly not shouting. When the teacher is providing instruction, or when we are preparing for prayer by walking to and from Morning Assembly, we strive for Level 0, or no sound. By keeping our noise levels reduced a bit, we hope to keep one ear heaven-bound, allowing us to hear important incoming messages heading our way. Because when God spoke to Elijah, he did not do so in a violent wind or through an earthquake, but using a still, small voice.