Today is the feast of the Prophet Elijah. Fr Athanasius from the Romanian Orthodox Church is celebrating a liturgy our church this morning to celebrate his feast day.
He is revered by the Jews, Christians and Muslims. The prophet Elijah appears in Scriptures as a man of God who lived always in God’s presence and fought zealously for the worship of the one true God. He is revered as the spiritual Father of the Order of Carmelites.
The late Wilfrid McGreal wrote a book entitles “At the Fountain of Elijah” about the Carmelite Spiritual Tradition. Rowan William says of this book that it reminds us that the Carmelite identity did not originate in sixteenth century Spain: its roots are in the Christian East.
On Mount Carmel, Elijah defended God’s law in the solemn contest against the prophets of the false god Baal, and afterwards was given on Mount Horeb an intimate experience of the living God in ‘the sound of sheer silence’.
Fr Wilfrid in his book quotes Paul Chandler.
“It (Carmelite Order) has always seen him as the first Carmelite and a rich model of the Carmelite way of life. We consider him as a man on a journey, always the way from ‘here’ to ‘there’ in response to God’s called in a sense we see the Elijah of the Scriptures and the Elijah of Carmelite tradition as one.”
As a man of both prayer and service, he inspires Carmelites in their contemplative vocation. As a passionate defender of the truth, he gives particular inspiration to the Carmelites’ work for justice and peace and the intercity of Creation.
It is worth meditating today on the Prophet Elijah’s encounter with God on Mount Horeb 1 kings 19:9-14.