Posts Tagged ‘Elijah’

The Call

Posted: July 4, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality
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Previously in the Legacy Cloaks post we touched upon Elisha taking up the work after his mentor Elijah ascended.  The Lectionary this week continues with a flashback passage that could also be used. This touching upon Elisha’s call by Elijah. For those who may be unfamiliar, Lectionary is a way to read the Bible in church, that is all passages are listed each Sunday, within 3 years you will have heard the whole Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament in the gathering, there is a daily one on a two year rotation.

11 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 Lordwas not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lordwas not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.[a]13 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?” 14 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.” 15 And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. 17 And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death.18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

-1 Kings 19:11-18 (English Standard Version)

Image result for 1 kings 19:11-21Elijah is used to the show when God shows up, thunder, lightning, billowing winds, etc. What happens though when he comes before God at this moment of discernment in his life? It is Holy Silence he is met with. How often in our own lives when we are looking for a big show to tell us of paths to take, or corrections to make we expect the big show? The fallacy of our world in recovery being that one has to hit “rock bottom” before they are “worthy” of new life. Even our testimony culture, for whatever religion or product out there peddles the same thing…a despairing story with a tight “exhibit a” made it great, or grew my riches…or or or… or not.

But here is Elijah, dedicated from before birth by his mother to God’s service. Having walked through the atrocities of the splintering and corrupt kingdom the people wanted who only did evil by the people not for the people. Here he is, and it is in the Holy Silence that he sits.

Have you ever had a moment of Holy Silence? It is an eerie feeling. Like a vacuum where nothing is heard. Then comes, like to Elijah, this still small whisper voice of direction. God lays out a last plan of who should be anointed in leadership, the turn of phrase in verse 18 alludes to Baal worship practices, and God pointing out that there is a small number that have not succumbed to the shopping channel salesman for a quicker fixer upper.

It is in the silence, that Elijah is encouraged, for he is pointed towards a matter of discipleship of his legacy. That is the next step, Elisha–

The Call of Elisha

19 So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. 20 And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” 21 And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.

-1 Kings 19:19-21 (English Standard Version)

Elisha is put forward a new path. Possibly a course correction, there is not much here that tells us if he knew what was coming. In all honesty (and some British Cheekiness) it is akin to the Doctor asking you to be his/her new companion or Batman asking you to be his Robin, could Elisha say no?

Instead what he does, is lovingly makes peace with his old life and past and then celebrates the new.

Are we as prepared for what the Holy Silence calls to us?

Are we willing to be in the Silence to begin with?

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Legacy Cloaks

Posted: July 2, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality
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13 And he took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.

-2 Kings 2:13 (English Standard Version)

When Wally West took up being the Flash after Barry Allen vanished in Crisis on Infinite Earths it was a big deal. When Superman died, four rose up to wear the “S” and carry on the Legacy. Marvel Comics is now just at the age of the legacy character with others taking up the mantle (as the NRSV would translate cloak from the above verse), but it has been in DC’s wheel house since the original multi-verse, and post-Crisis in 1984, one of the main reasons the New 52 did not capture the heart of the old fans for it gutted the legacy.

This is what this story in 2 Kings begins to lay out for the hearer. It is a legacy story, of Elijah and Elisha. It is the story of ascendance for Elijah, the come rest faithful servant. It is the moments of questioning by Elisha if he will have the chops to continue the work. He pesters Elijah to ensure his power is double what Elijah had, and Elijah shares a riddle with him about keeping his eyes focused on what is about to happen.

Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he said, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.”

Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that today the Lord will take away your master from over you?” And he answered, “Yes, I know it; keep quiet.”

Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the sons of the prophets also went and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his cloak and rolled it up and struck the water, and the water was parted to the one side and to the other, till the two of them could go over on dry ground.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” 10 And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” 11 And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more.

Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. 13 And he took up the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.

-2 Kings 2:1-14 (English Standard Version)

Elijah’s journey is changing, as he is about to ascend alive into the full presence of God. He is going to vanish from the earthly world, and the side kick, is about to rend his old uniform, and take up the new. Left questioning if he is ready and able…the answer is found at the banks of the Jordan River.

For those who are rooted in the Christian Testament, the Jordan is the baptism of Jesus’ spot, the place where John the Baptist formed community to meet his kid cousin. Yet it is a barrier for a nation moving forward at this time in defining who they are meant to be. Elijah had laid a path, could it continue? Even with taking up the mantle was Elisha worthy?

Are these not questions that go through our own hearts and minds at moments of succession? Moments of life change? Are we equipped? Are we ready? Did I get it? What other questions hold us back from fully stepping out into who we are called to be?

Image result for Elisha parts the JordanElisha struggled with questions, and this story in the last verse gives the first sign to him he was on the right path. It is a now and historic event. By parting the Jordan River, those present are reminded of the nations flight out of oppression and slavery–Moses parted the Sea of Reeds, or more familiarly, the Red Sea to aid in the journey into the complete presence of the Holy.

And what is the first sign after his mentor ascends? A parting of the Jordan River to continue the journey.

Many times, what holds us back into stepping into the new call…is our own negative sound track. It is that soundtrack we must challenge, name, call out and affirm the truth of…that is that we are in the love of the Holy Mystery, and as such, the path is open, the river is parted. We just need to take that first step…


There are many questions that swirl around as one continues wrestling through the echoes of the past trying, and sometimes succeeding, in shaping your identity today. It has been a quiet time of reflection, and truly just getting my memories under control to be able to continue to write these reflections on the Sunday Lectionary readings. These readings are from June 23, 2019…but as I cracked opened my bible on Thursday in the Husky House, I can tell you there was some empathy for where the Prophet Elijah was at in his journey in 1 Kings 19:1-15

Elijah is left in the shadows, his journey and despair is what I have felt in the midst of PNES/PTSD. Have I made a difference? Is it worthwhile to continue to worry about healing, or simply accept the hear and now? Elijah, literally is at the point of despair where he wants death to conclude it. It is the spectrum of feelings one can begin to experience when things go askew with our life, whether personally, professionally (collectively?) or with loved ones.

Yet, The Holy Mystery does not respond by quickness of reinvigorated life or simply death for the faithful servant on the lamb. Nope, it is a laid out expansive life as Elijah is taken through another journey. Yet it is a journey of illustration outside of Israel. It is letting Elijah live the inclusive and expansive love God has intended all along, not one little sliver has it right, but rather for all… Taking a broader look which can be hard in the shadows by ourselves, yet showing that it takes an outside agent to move through. In a way, the story with the Syrian king, Elijah and God, is a living breathing story of the Shema. That is love God with everything, love of neighbour as self.

The lectionary continues to challenge on this theme of love to emerge from the shadow, from the pain, but that it is in community as the Psalmist cries out. The Psalms are a beautiful collection of songs, hymns and prayers that pull no punches. They give an authentic window into life, and that even the spiritual life is filled with all the “feels” (that is the spectrum of emotion). It is life lived, like any life. Yet, for the spiritual, the why of life is understood at a deeper level, a level of holiness. And that holiness can be ugly, especially in the darkness as Psalm 42 sings out.

And the singing out continues in Psalm 43 that shows the Psalmist seeking out hope in the darkness. Hope, such a small word, yet one that can carry so much power in life when looking for healing. Looking for a way out of the shadow. It answers the why question. I know my recovery is going well, and that has a lot to do with my wife and kids, but also the friends that did not abandon us, and even within the darkest times still having sparks of being taken out. Keeping a semblance of what the old normal was as the journey into the shadow time, and the emergent light of hope continued.

This week’s lectionary gave us an alternative writing of a prophet, and a Psalm. The Psalm snippet came from Psalm 22:19-28, Psalm 22 is famous in kitchy Christianities because the opening line is quoted by Jesus on the Cross, as the Psalmist literally cries out to the justice the Prophets taught. Writing a reminder, an affirmation if you will of the source of all.

The prophet that is shared is a “major prophet” which literally is deemed such just cause it is a long book. I do love to wrestle through the writing of the prophets in group studies, I tend to avoid preaching on them from the pulpit. The reason is that they are layered, and best unpacked in conversation. I find when preached on they easily become these Thou Shalt NOT texts, or bastardized into a futuristic text which is not the intent. These are people called by God into a role like the Judges, they are meant to keep the people out of exile, or while in exile to encourage and exhort and point out what needs to be shed to come back to the roots. Come back to the roots, see every movement has roots, yet we tend to avoid the hard conversations, it is the avoidance of these holy conversations, that we leave rot in the roots so that death happens to the gathering. This is what the role of the prophets were, the voice to kick start and maintain the holy conversation.

Isaiah is a book that some hold was written by one prophet, some scholars stipulate 2 or three prophets wrote it in movements. The works are during the Assyrian Empire’s control and conquering of Israel. The prophets pointed back towards the Just Society God had laid out, as we saw with Elijah’s story the Great Commandments and what that means for a healthy transformational society, but also that it is not easy, and that love carries through the shadow.

Here in 65:1-9 Isaiah is speaking, in my humble opinion, to a people in their adolescence if we are to borrow from lifespan development. They have been pushing boundaries,and discovering the why of life. They have seen and felt the consequences for always doing things as they have been done (exile not fun), and no the early adolescence selfishness is not working.  The ground work has been laid, but will the message go in one ear and out the other, or land in the mind, or more importantly the heart. That through this comes growth, and in that growth one must find hope.

It is these holy texts that Jesus of Nazareth was formed, and taught, as well as one of the lead apostles of the early church, Paul. Paul wrote to the gathering in Galatia:

23 Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring,[a] heirs according to the promise.

-Galatians 3:23-29 (New Revised Standard Version)

It is the path out of the shadow. It is faith. It is doing the work to go deep with self and neighbour. And in going deep, you see the holy in one another. You see each other as created, the Imageo Dei (Image of God). Paul is pointing out that the oppressive rules created to make spaces of exclusion in the Holy have been eliminated. That the oppressive castes created by the Empire have been erased. What is left is simply, the beloved and blessed creation of the family of God.

Let that settle in.

Do we gather and live as such?

The final piece of the puzzle that this builds to is in Luke 8:26-39. Luke was one of Paul’s disciples. A disciple is someone that does life with another, to learn and grow. Luke was a physician who set out to right a history of the early church, and this was done in two books in the Christian Testament, Luke and Acts. This story comes from Jesus’ time of travelling, teaching and healing.

26 Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes,[a] which is opposite Galilee. 27 As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn[b] no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”— 29 for Jesus[c] had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) 30 Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. 31 They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.

32 Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons[d] begged Jesus[e] to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33 Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

34 When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. 35 Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. 37 Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes[f]asked Jesus[g] to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus[h] sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.

Luke 8:26-39 (New Revised Standard Version)

An ancient voice sees a man tormented by many demons, it can be literal (been involved in some exorcisms in the modern era myself) or an allegory for unpacking mental health. Could this be a former soldier so traumatized that he is experiencing Dissociative Identity Disorder? Both are plausibilities. How one sees Legion’s affliction is secondary to the story, if completely irrelevant.

What Jesus sees is an Imageo Dei; what the religious and people saw was a label. A label designed not to figure out how Legion could be a part of community, but a label to keep Legion out of community. To make him feel less than. To make him fully understand by those “religous authority” that he was not loved by God, and was a less than Image of…

What the story here is with Jesus, is Jesus looking at, a neighbour, a friend…one that needs kindness. Accessibility when Jesus goes forward to talk. Legion has his back up as he is expecting the B.S. that has left his outcast, and instead Jesus opens up. That is the first step, can one even enter the community? The next is Jesus affirms that he is an image bearer, for he challenges the shadow that keeps him, he lays out hope. Inclusion if you will, the circle is being drawn wide enough there is a place for Legion to wrestle his demons and perhaps the hope of healing.

Finally hope is answered…he is sent into the community as a full member.

Belonging.

Nothing changed about who the authentic Legion was. Despair met Hope. In Hope, Legion knew there was more than the shadows and the demons, more than the labels.

This is the core of Pentecost, erasing that which keeps us apart.

Are we willing though is the question?


Read Aquarian Gospel 129 here.

Transfiguration. It is one of those unique stories that some have alluded to, almost like Clark Kent changing into Superman. But then that removes the mystical aspect. For it is a transformation.

Perhaps there is more for us to uncover than simply changing clothes.

What if it was more akin to when the Incredible Hulk becomes Bruce Banner. When the ego run rampant, that which separates us from the Holy Mystery is stripped away to truly live into our vocational calling of brilliance. For, the Hulk was the protector. In life coaching, we coin the term saboteur or gremlin. That which allows us to survive in life, but holds us back from truly thriving. It is once we have released the monster truly from our being, and lived into our true self that we are at peace, content, whole in Holy Love…

Transfigured.

Like Brother Jesus:

  1. And as he prayed a brilliant light appeared; his form became as radiant as a precious stone;
    13. His face shone like the sun; his garments seemed as white as snow; the son of man became the son of God.
    14. He was transfigured that the men of earth might see the possibilities of man.

-129:12-14

Peter, James and John play the role of showing what has allowed survival…but the next step into thriving they show letting go of the past in the manifestations of Moses and Elijah to live into the Cosmic Christ.

First acknowledge and give voice to that holding you back.

Draw it out.

Prepare your self for release.

Thank the Gremlin for allowing you to survive up until now, while acknowledging it is time to move forward in your new life.

Destroy/discard the image when truly ready to step out of the past, this is the monument left on the mountain.

  1. The veil that separates the worlds is but an ether veil. For those who purify their hearts by faith the veil is rolled aside, and they can see and know that death is an illusive thing.

                        –129:19

For the old must die, for the new to be born, like a fire releasing the seed of life within the pine cone.

  1. And all symbolic of the path that every man must tread; symbolic of the way the sons of men become the sons of God.

                        –129:24

The symbolism of release, the stepping into your new reality connecting with the Cosmic Christ-Holy Mystery within. Letting your love light shine brightly within your own transfiguration. Each moment of each day.

The question is, are you willing to leave the gremlins on the mountain top and descend with the Holy Mystery into true life?