Monday, October 18, 2010

Hearing God speak in the storm revisited (psalm 29): a reflection on a stillpoint on a windy day

Maclaurin chapel and surrounds 
After reading James Bryan Smith’s book ‘The Good and Beautiful God’ I’ve been trying to put the soul training exercises in his book into practise in my life. One of them is just taking time each day to connect with creation and in that to connect with the creator. Another is to be present in the moment, so I took some time to go and sit outside the chapel here at Auckland University and have a cup of coffee looking at the grass and trees. Smith suggests noticing five new things that you haven’t noticed before as a way of getting yourself into the moment and becoming aware. I’ve equated noticing new things with seeing, but today i became very aware of the sound of the wind and the noise it made in the trees and I was reminded of Psalm 29 which talks of hearing the voice of the Lord in the storms (you can read my reflection on it at (

It was a typical spring day in Auckland city, which means that it is what the crowded house song says ‘four seasons in one day’. As I sat in the sun the weather changed it got cold again and the wind began to howl through the trees and the leaves which have just begun to grace the trees again (this was one of the things new things I had noticed) shock and rustled. The tall trees not in the leeward side of the chapel began to bend and creak. In response to that I started to pay attention what I could hear. There was a lull in the wind and I became aware of the back ground hum of traffic, this dull rumble that permeates a urban landscape like the bass rumble of the soundtrack of our western world. An anthem to what we have achieved. Then the wind blew again and the traffic noise was drowned out by the rustle and whistle and roar of what was not really more than a strong breeze. The soundtrack of humanities march of progress disappeared behind this and I found myself surrounded by other sounds. I was aware that just like in Psalm 29 where the people in the temple cried Holy in light of the storm which swept up the Mediterranean, over the hills of Lebanon and onto the city that here was a demonstration of the power of God.

Did I feel God say anything profound in that... No. Beyond a real demonstration of his presence and his power: a real sense of the sovereignty of God. At the same time almost in a Elijah on Mt Horeb way that God wasn’t in the storm but being surrounded by this wall of wind noise that God was with me in the stillness as I sat there. The first time I went out with Kris, who is my wife for twenty three great years, we went out to the west coast of Auckland, we went out to the top of the Ahuahu cliff between Piha and Karekare. We sat together for an hour or so just watching the waves break far below us and the gulls and gannets swoop and play with the wind currents as they came of the Tasman sea and impacted the Waitakere rangers. Kris still talks about that time because we didn’t really talk but there was a real sense of companionship and being relaxed together and I sensed the same sort of thing as I sat surrounded by the wind, a sense of comfortable companionship.

1 comment:

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