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The creative power of God’s voice permeates everything.
For an example we might be able to begin to grasp, think about infrasound. Do you know what infrasounds are? These are low frequency wave sounds which are below the range of human hearing. Animals such as elephants, rhinoceroses, giraffes, and whales can communicate with each other over great distances using these very low frequency vibrations.
Elephants can even hear these infrasounds with their feet. They have a thick pad in the bottom of their feet which pick up the vibrations. These waves then move through their bones, to sensory receptors in their brains. They “hear” what is being said by other elephants through the ground beneath them. These seismic, ground-based sounds can travel over 10 miles sending information to other individuals.
Reading Psalm 29 today reminded me of the known infrasounds, and that great movements of the earth such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and avalanches, also create low, rumbling, “voices.” Seismic movements causing the earth to dance in Lebanon and Sirion, and shaking the wilderness in Kadesh.
If the earth and animals can connect via infrasounds, and others such as bats and dolphins “talk” via ultra-high-pitched, ultrasonic communications, it becomes less surprising God’s voice can be difficult for us to detect—even in God’s always present, everywhere sort of way. How do we hear God?
In this ancient poem from the Psalms, the community was grappling with the gods in the cultures around them. Richard Bruxvoort (brux-vort) Colligan (coll-i-gan) notes, “In Psalm 29, the Holy One brings the storm. And how! God is in the thunder, fire, earthquake, and floods. God’s voice is shaking the desert and snapping trees like twigs. Even the famous “cedars of Lebanon” are wiped out.”
He goes on to ask, “What’s with all the violence? (The answer is) This text resonates with an old Canaanite myth of creation about Baal the thunder-god who tamed the watery chaos and its wild sea monster to make creation. In Psalm 29’s reboot of that story, it’s the God of Israel who not only tames the chaos, it’s the Holy One who controls it in the first place…
At the end of the day in verses 10-11, it’s the Holy One who also stills the storm, bringing strength and shalom (peace and prosperity) to the people.”
This is a tale of awe and wonder. The creative, stirring, and stilling presence of the Divine reverberating through the marvels of the world. A God who can be heard, even when everything around us is being torn apart.
As the storms of chaos thunder, and the foundations of all we thought we knew crumble, how do we hear God? What is the message God has for us in the whirlwinds?
Especially now, as we move from pandemic to “post” pandemic times. It is soooo exciting to look forward to Sunday, June 13, when we will have the opportunity to worship once again in-person!
I find it interesting that in the church’s calendar cycle, we are making this transition during ordinary time. For you who are liturgical geeks, these are the weeks we denote with the color green. 33 weeks, more than half a year, of green. These are the days of encountering God in our day-to-day living. Our waking, doing the dishes, going to work, playing with friends, tending the garden, reading a book. Hearing God in the ordinary-ness of our lives.
At the same time, we are excited because we have reached a point in the pandemic where life has lots hints of returning to some sort of normalcy. Yesterday, Steve and I got together with my mom, our children, and grandchildren, for a family photograph in Mineral Point. This month our church has moved into the second phase of its reopening plans, a time when we are carefully beginning to do familiar activities once again. The color of this second step, vigilant, is green. If you were to peak outside the curtains covering the sanctuary windows this morning, you would see the hillside decked out in green as summer approaches. In the life-giving greenness, I can’t help but smile and remember Kermit the Frog singing “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”
It is not easy being green.
Green is splashed all over the day. There is awe and wonder in our return to the church building. At the same time, as we lean into the beginning of the ordinary-ness, I believe it is important for us to remember this is also the beginning of our NEW return-to-church-ordinary-time as a congregation. Moving from pandemic to post-pandemic time will bring changes… and challenges. It’s not be easy being green.
Post Pandemic Stress Disorder. Have you heard of it? Natasha Hinde writes, “Experts have warned for some time now we may see a rise in post traumatic stress disorder-like symptoms as a result of the collective trauma faced from Covid-19 and its impact on society. Our lives have been fiercely disrupted, and the effects of this are likely to be profound.”
Our lives have been fiercely disrupted over the past year. In the ordinary-ness of the green around us, as we return to the church building and begin to reconnect—moving forward together in a post-pandemic world—remember the creative power of God’s voice will rise above any storm we encounter. If we listen, God will provide us with the awe and wonder of not only renewal, but of love and trust too.
Beloved, it is time!
Let God catch our attention.
Let the presence of God’s voice permeate everything we do, resonating through our very bodies. Allow the Divine to speak to you in new ways. And then, as people in covenant with one another and with God, may we listen. May we listen and hear each other’s’ voice in love.
For God can be heard in these moments. These conversations which can initially shake us to our very foundations. There is the truth in the nearer-than-near-to-us relationship with our Creator. Through our taking the time to listen in love, God’s voice can stir things up.
And beyond that know: God’s got this! God’s got us. The Holy will guide us through the transition… through the greenness… through the “post-ness,” and give us strength.
All along the way, whether it is our return to church, or making the time to support one another through the physical, mental health, and spiritual healing ahead, God will give us strength. God will restore shalom. Bless all with peace.
For the creative power of God’s voice permeates everything.
Listen to the awe and wonder of God’s glory.
In the sunrise. The sunset. The green. And yes, the storms and earth shakes around us.
Through it all, God restores shalom. Peace.
Let us worship God!
Reflection on Psalm 29 offered May 30, 2021
 Raina, “Deep into Infrasound,” Elephant Listening Project, March 11, 2019, https://elephantlisteningproject.org/all-about-infrasound/.
 “How Elephants Listen … With Their Feet,” PBS SoCal, accessed May 28, 2021, https://www.pbssocal.org/shows/deep-look/episodes/how-elephants-listen-their-feet-tu4btg.
 Richard Bruxvoort Colligan, “Psalm 29,” psalmimmersion, accessed May 25, 2021, https://www.psalmimmersion.com/psalm-29.
 Natasha Hinde, “What To Know About So-Called Post Pandemic Stress Disorder,” HuffPost UK (HuffPost UK, March 21, 2021), https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/post-pandemic-stress-disorder_uk_60534a34c5b6e32eb4afa802.