2 Kings 2:1-12
Rev. Dr.P.W. spoke about how the Old Testament was different when read from the Christian perspective. The taking up of Elijah in the whirlwind at the end of his life looked forward to Jesus’ embodiment of the spirit and his transfiguration and subsequent death and resurrection.
There were parts of this reading that many of us had forgotten. That Elijah parted the waters, like Moses and, like Moses at the end of his life, Elisha stood across the river looking at the Promised land as he inherited Elijah’s spirit and mission.
Dr. C.W. remarked on the passing on of spiritual gifts from one generation to another. In our challenged economy we could reconsider what we felt was important to hand down to our children in as much as many of us would have less material wealth to give. In our society too, she continued, we may have had our goals misplaced and would do well to consider our spiritual gifts and the importance of sharing them.
Psalm 50, like 2 Kings’ chariots of fire and whirlwind, had God appearing as Devouring Fire and mighty tempest and a judge. P.C. pointed out how often in the early scriptures God was depicted in terms of fire and tempest, overwhelming and uncontrollable events. Natural disasters were explained as acts of God. Now we see wild fires in Australia and think of arsonists. Dr. CW said that the idea of God being uncontrollable was expressed in these events. We need to realize how much of our lives and the world are not within our control.
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Paul explains how the good news that “God has shone in our hearts to give the light of knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus” can be veiled to some but the light is stronger than the veil. PG said that this is the same light of the world, the Word in John, that cannot be overcome by darkness. PC described Paul’s teaching in the synagogues to Jews and non Jews. Some were not believers. In this passage he is careful to say that Jesus is the messenger, not him.
We considered how Mark wrote to reflect the Hebrew scriptures in his account of Jesus’ transfiguration. Dr.PC pointed out that the lectionary was assembled by the church to tell the Christian story over the year. The Mark passage was foremost important to the beginning of Lent this week.In other words it reflected forward not back into history.
DC wondered how the disciples recognized Moses and Elijah. What were the images of them at the time Mark wrote? AD referred to a commentary which pointed out, among other things, that the followers’ impulse to build a stone “dwelling” for each of the apparitions was human nature: to rush to do something concrete when perhaps the better response would be quiet contemplation until a clear plan of action presents itself. We are left with an image of light, shining from Jesus’ face and clothing, and the spirit that Elijah passed to Elisha being of the same light, a light which is the glory of God, as Paul said, “shone in our hearts”