Lectionary Scriptures and Comments

TAKE UP YOUR MANTLE 011511

A fresco of Saint Ilia (Elijah) from the Rila ...

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TAKE UP YOUR MANTLE

 

This blog comes to you from the people at

Peace Mennonite Church of Columbia, MO

www.peacemennonitechurch.net (under construction)

 

Meditation and thoughts follow the scripture.

 

Psalm 40:1-11

1 Kings 19:19-21

Luke 5:1-11

 

Psalm 40

Thanksgiving for Deliverance and Prayer for Help

To the leader. Of David. A Psalm.
1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the desolate pit,*
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
4 Happy are those who make
the Lord their trust,
who do not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after false gods.
5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts towards us;
none can compare with you.
Were I to proclaim and tell of them,
they would be more than can be counted.
6 Sacrifice and offering you do not desire,
but you have given me an open ear.*
Burnt-offering and sin-offering
you have not required.
7 Then I said, ‘Here I am;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me.*
8 I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.’
9 I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
see, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
10 I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
11 Do not, O Lord, withhold
your mercy from me;
let your steadfast love and your faithfulness
keep me safe for ever.

1 Kings 19:19-21

Elisha Becomes Elijah’s Disciple

19 So he set out from there, and found Elisha son of Shaphat, who was ploughing. There were twelve yoke of oxen ahead of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle over him. 20He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, ‘Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.’ Then Elijah* said to him, ‘Go back again; for what have I done to you?’ 21He returned from following him, took the yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them; using the equipment from the oxen, he boiled their flesh, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out and followed Elijah, and became his servant.

Luke 5:1-11

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

5Once while Jesus* was standing beside the lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, 2he saw two boats there at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’ 5Simon answered, ‘Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.’ 6When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break. 7So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they began to sink. 8But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’ 9For he and all who were with him were amazed at the catch of fish that they had taken; 10and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.’ 11When they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

TAKING UP YOUR MANTLE

In today’s Old Testament reading from 1 Kings, the prophet Elijah ‘threw his mantle over him’.

 

Elijah was a prophet, and his mantle was, I am told, a ceremonial shawl or drape on the shoulders of the prophet-designee, Elisha in this case. I am confused about Elijah and need to consider his whole story another time. An History Channel program claims that Elijah was an alien, with his ‘Wheels of Fire’ (a spaceship or UFO?) and the tale of Elijah being recovered or transported away by ‘Chariots of Fire’. Additionally, which we may find even stranger is that Elijah was apparently born as a Gentile, yet was a Jewish prophet. Fascinating?

 

But the topic of these verses is much more exciting, because it asks us to take up our mantle, and basically, to get after our purpose in this life on earth.

 

I wonder sometimes if people have a ‘purpose’ anymore, or a higher calling. Perhaps it is a different time, everyone was supposed to grow into a purpose while alive. Is it easier to see a purpose to life if there are only 3 billion people on earth instead of 6 billion?

 

A higher purpose, by the way, need not be arrogant or lofty. I know of no higher calling than to raise children, and may God Bless you for doing your best! A higher calling may be to clean the restrooms at the local homeless shelter, or visit three or four home-bound people a month or share your efforts with a soup kitchen or……the list can be endless.

 

I’ve been watching the French movie Amelie, from 2000. In the movie a young girl, who is very cute but lonely dedicates her time and life to providing small surprises to people anonymously that brings great joy to them. And perhaps we’ve all known or loved people who did the same, yet remain quiet or even secretive about it.

 

Well, the story about Elijah is terrific. But the more important story is when you and I secretly take up our mantle, asking for no notice, notoriety or reward, and so attain our purpose on earth. Do we think that a real person named God or Jesus is watching and knows this?

 

Peace,

(brother) Bill

 

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