Tuesday, July 21st 2 Kings 2:1-3

Now when the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “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. The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, “Do you know that today the LORD will take your master away from you?” And he said, “Yes, I know; keep silent.” 2 Kings 2:1-3

This chapter opens with Elijah and his protégé, Elisha, on their last road trip together. Elijah realizes the end is near, Elisha doesn’t want to see it happen. Elijah wants to leave Elisha behind, but Elisha – like a sticky little kid brother – won’t stay behind.

They meet several groups of people on the way – the prophets of Bethel, the prophets of Jericho, and fifty prophets at the Jordan river. Elijah works his final wonder, the parting of the river, and then disappears in a chariot of fire. Elisha, now left alone, picks up Elijah’s cloak, his mantle, and begins his chapter as primary prophet of God.

It is a key moment in the story and, like some of the best such stories, it comes to us embedded in a road trip. A trip marked by adventure, meeting new people, struggling against the unplanned things that go wrong, culminating in a major change.

As I mentioned yesterday, parents all over the country will be sending their teenagers on a road trip to New Orleans this week. Some by airplane, some by car, most by charted bus and fancy church vans, the traveling to and from the gathering is part of the journey. The constant conversation (at least among those wise enough to turn their incessant cell phone texting, i-pod listening devices off) will be of memory and anticipation.

Few such journeys will be uneventful. Something will go wrong, careful planning will crumble, at least for a few minutes along the way. There will be a measure of suffering if it is to be any kind of road trip at all. If those traveling pay attention, if they have eyes to see and ears to hear, they will come to know each other better and will craft memories that will last a lifetime.

For this time will not last forever. Even among those kids coming from small towns where they have shared their lives from their first breath, this time together will not last. Like Elijah and Elisha, the time will come to hand life over to the next crew standing in the on deck circle. For this is the journey of life, the way things go. Beginnings and endings with grand adventures marking the trip.

And above it all, just a quick fiery chariot ride away, stands the One who holds every step of the journey in his hand.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, thank you for those with whom we share our journey through life. Thank you for the Elijah’s who went before us, and the Elisha’s who follow behind us. Thank you for those with whom we share the adventure of today. Bless our kids as they travel to New Orleans. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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One Response to “Tuesday, July 21st 2 Kings 2:1-3”

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