Thoughts for Friday 22nd May, 2020

Psalm 93; 2 Kings 2:1-12; Ephesians 2:1-7

Friday 22 May - Rev. Jerry Eve

Psalm 93 is one of those poems which, as soon as you try to deconstruct it, it seems to lose its power. Sometimes the opposite is true, and the more you analyse, and are then able to understand a poem, the more powerful it gets. But here, it’s best just to leave it alone, and let it wash over you; and what you get is a notion of God as a totally solid reality in the Psalmist’s life.

If you did want to break it down, however, then one of the ways I find helpful is to isolate all the nouns to begin with, and then look for repeats – and by that I mean the same thing said in different ways; such as right at the end we have ‘eternal’ and ‘ever and ever’.

Ephesians 2:1-7 is similar. Just let it wash over you, and you get a sense of the difference ‘life with Christ’ makes to us as we move from ‘In the past’ to ‘for all time to come’, and experience the mercy, grace and love of God.

And so to 2 Kings 2:1-12: this, to me, is a bit like a fairytale in the way it’s so repetitive. The refrain, ‘I swear by my loyalty to the living Lord and to you that I will not leave you,’ in verses 2, 4 and 6 as Elijah tries to give Elisha the slip (or to give him the chance not to become a prophet) reminds me of ‘I’ll huff and I’ll puff,’ ‘Who’s been sleeping in my bed?’ or ‘Run, run, as fast as you can.’

Elisha not wanting to talk (on two occasions) about what’s about to happen is also interesting, I think; as it reminds us how sensitive we do need to be around people who are experiencing grief. It’s probably important to give people an opportunity to talk (although not necessarily in front of a group – this is probably best done one to one), but not to insist that they do so.

The other aspect of this passage that is quite fairytale-like is the ‘magic’ cloak, which Elijah uses to cross the Jordan in the opposite direction to that in Joshua 3:16. Cloaks see to have been representative of prophets. Samuel had one (see 1 Samuel 15:27 and 28:14). And Elijah had already ‘anointed’ Elisha by ‘passing him his mantle’ at 1 Kings 19:19.

The chariot of fire is very dramatic, and of course it’s the basis for Wallis Willis’s spiritual, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, which let’s end with today as we sing:

Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
(Coming for to carry me home)
A band of angels coming after me
(Coming for to carry me home)

 

If you get there before I do
(Coming for to carry me home)
Tell all of my friends, that I'm coming there too
(Coming for to carry me home)

 


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