Summer Interns: Taking Up the Mantle

By Elita Fung (Outreach Worker from St. James Town)

“6 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.” But [Elisha] said, “As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on.Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.

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.

13 He picked up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.14 He took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” When he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.

15 When the company of prophets who were at Jericho saw him at a distance, they declared, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” They came to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.” – 2 Kings 2: 6-15 

God raised up Elisha in the tradition of Elijah. They wear the same coat. They have the same spirit on them. But their tradition goes even further back: striking water and watching it part – a clear echo of Moses.

God has always been raising people, and always for the same kind of purposes. Elijah and Elisha perform such spectacular but similar miracles that one almost wonders if God was becoming repetitive. He wasn’t, of course. No. YHWH was trying to hammer into the minds of His people the kind of world He wanted for them. He wanted their dried up fruitless land to experience fresh waters and bear fruit again. He wanted their widows cared for. He wanted the dead raised to life.

As our new summer interns (pictured above) join us for our daycamps, they too are called to pick up the mantle and live out the call of the prophetic tradition. The mission is the same. YHWH is still calling people who will be bold enough to ask, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” and expect a mighty God to answer. He is still empowering His people, but not because He wants His people to be exhibitionists. His power is focused and purposeful. We, like Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and even Jesus before us, are called and empowered to point to a better kingdom, one where the land is abundant, the most vulnerable are cherished, and those who are as good as gone have the greatest hope of new life.