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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Dalziel

The bookmark (24-01-2023)

Reading (1 Kings 19:9-13)

The Lord Speaks to Elijah

There he (Elijah) came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”


My dad was a great reader. He always seemed to have at least one book on the go. He read many different types of books, he read quickly, much faster than I read, so he was able to get through them at some speed. My dad was always a member of the local library when we were growing up and when we would go on our annual two week holiday he would take at least four books with him to read while we were away. In the later years of his life he embraced electronic books, so the number of books he actually physically owned was not large.

The books that we do still have, that belonged to dad, are mostly theological with the occasional murder mystery, he was a big fan of Colin Dexter. I have started reading my way through some of the books that he had and have found the writings of Philip Yancey, an American theologian, really worth reading. His books are both challenging and encouraging whilst being written in a way that is easy for the non-theologian, like me, to understand. There is something very special about handling and reading a book that you know someone else has read, especially when that person is not with us anymore.

I have just finished reading ‘Reaching for the Invisible God’ and I can thoroughly recommend it. When I took the book out of the bookcase at my mum’s house I found a bookmark in the book. It must have been given to my dad when he went on a retreat in 1999 to Ashburnham and on the bookmark was printed out a prayer written by David Adam, entitled Speak, Lord.

I was reminded of something that David Yancey had written or quoted in one of his books. He said that he couldn’t tell people how to hear God speak, but he could tell them how to block out his voice. He said that if you never allow yourself to be silent before God, if you make yourself really busy and have noise on all the time then God will not be able to speak to you. The prayer by David Adam gives examples of when God might speak to us, provided we are listening.

Prayer (Speak, Lord by David Adam)

In the silence of the stars,

In the quiet of the hills,

In the heaving of the sea,

Speak, Lord.

In the stillness of this room,

In the calming of my mind,

In the longing of my heart,

Speak, Lord.

In the voice of a friend,

In the chatter of a child,

In the words of a stranger,

Speak, Lord.

In the opening of a book,

In the looking at a film,

In the listening to music,

Speak, Lord.

For your servant listens.


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