Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Double Share

2 Kings 2:9-12

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.” 10 He responded, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.” 11 As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. 12 Elisha kept watching and crying out, “Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.

What would a “double share” of the spirit of a modern prophet or saint look like? The one who received a double share of the spirit of Dietrich Bonhoeffer would likely not rest while there were unjust governments in the world. A double share of Rosa Parks would mean resisting oppression wherever it appeared, and putting oneself in a position to resist it.

Twice the spirit of Malala Yousafzai could mean moving forward even in the face of certain death for the sake of others and one’s own self. Doubling the spirit of Mother Teresa would mean walking past no one in need, even as one fears and grieves the perceived absence of the Lord. A double share of the spirit of Pope Francis I might mean defying the unspoken traditions of your denomination to lift up your deeper understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A double share of the spirit of Jon Stewart means skewering the loud voices of our time, on all sides, that seek their own advancement over the welfare of their neighbors. A second helping of the spirit of Fred Rogers would mean seeing all people, including children, as your neighbor and doubling the effort to lift them up to better circumstances. Twice the spirit share of Nadia Bolz-Weber means looking past what you think you are worth and fully embracing what God knows you are worth.

Elisha dared to ask for a double share of Elijah’s spirit. Would we dare to ask for a double share of the Spirit of any of these? More than daring to ask, would we (could we) dare to want it?

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