July 3rd 2022 – “Left Behind”

Elijah taken away by Chariot of Fire
2022-07-03 Sunday Service 10:30 AM - "Left Behind”

Dear all,

For the third Sunday in a row (and next week, too)  our Old Testament lesson is about the prophets Elijah and Elisha who lived during the reign of  King Ahab and Queen Jezebel (roughly 800 years before Jesus.) They are some of the best stories in the Bible, but not as well knows as they once were. Here is an icon of Elijah taking off to heaven in a chariot of fire, leaving his anxious disciple, Elisha,  wondering how he will carry on without his mentor. It is a story about transition; about the end of an old order and the beginning of a new one. It also reminds us, perhaps, of Jesus at the top of the Mountain of Transfiguration conversing with Moses and Elijah, in a cloud of heavenly glory.  Or of Jesus’ Ascension as the disciples stare up into the clouds that separate heaven and earth, feeling bereft as Jesus returns to the Father and leaves them behind. What will they do now? 

Before his master leaves, Elisha requests a “double portion” of his spirit;  (a “double portion” the inheritance of an oldest son) so that he can continue the prophetic ministry of Elijah – despite his misgivings. He also receives a physical gift of Elijah’s cloak (or “mantle”). The disciples, however deserted and inadequate they feel when Jesus departs from them, also receive a “double portion” of the spirit at Pentecost which empowers them to continue Jesus’ ministry. It is the story of the church in every generation. How do we carry on after past leaders have left us and the present seems so naked and pitiful in comparison?

Order of Service

Call to Worship
Hymn 187: “We have come at Christ’s own bidding”
Prayer of Adoration
Prayer of Confession
Declaration of Grace and Lord’s Prayer
Responsive reading: Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20
2 Kings 2: 1-14
Anthem: “Deep River”
Luke 9: 36- 50
Hymn 445 “Open our eyes, Lord/Ouvre nos yeux, Seigneur”
Sermon: “Left Behind”
Hymn: “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”
Prayer of Thanksgiving and Intercession
Hymn: “God of the prophets”
Go now in Peace