Weekly worship: Sunday 11 February
Taking up the Mantle
2 Kings 2:1-12 Psalm 50 2 Corinthians 4:2-6 Mark 9:2-9
The chariots have disappeared, and so too has Elisha’s trusted mentor, left only with Elijah’s mantle to comfort him.
Have you ever thought it would have been really tempting for Elisha to put Elijah’s mantle in a box and look at it every so often to reminisce:
‘Once the world was touched by Elijah: those days were good.’
However, Elisha took up the mantle and got stuck into the job.
There are so many examples we can use for taking up the mantle, from talking about great leaders in the local church, family and even national and international figures.
You know what will be real in your own situation, what will inspire people and make them think.
Count Your Blessings this Lent
A global example of inspiring leadership can be found in our Count Your Blessings Lent journey
Leaders like Dub, who works for Christian Aid’s partner in northern Kenya. He comes from a family of nomadic farmers and now speaks up for those in desperate need as a result of failed rains and dreaded drought.
In our gospel story, the disciples witnessed the transfiguration: the reality that what they had heard and witnessed was transformational, and they wanted to build shrines as a result.
In the sermon this Sunday, it may be good to ask some questions about what is alive and well about the church and the gospel today? Maybe even ask some questions about what could be alive and well about the gospel, and what maybe fits into passive remembrance.
How can you bring hope this Lent?
What can your church do, what can the people in the pews do, to follow the example of Jesus to further justice and peace in the world they inhabit? Where can your congregation get involved in the struggle for gender justice for example, or to speak up for the mass displacement of people across the world which Christian Aid will be campaigning on this year, and how might they get engaged in the hard work of making peace and bringing hope?
In this Sunday before Lent we can invite our congregations to journey with those who have been displaced from their homes because of violence in Nigeria and drought in Kenya. We sojourn with those who are in a literal wilderness who may lead us to experience a meaningful Lent.
In preparing for Lent we can ask questions of how we set our priorities and how we use our resources, particularly as we reflect on issues of climate and economic justice in a world of strife.
And as we come down from the mountain and reflect on the transfiguration, we can ponder how we can make goodness shine. What actions can we take to help make a difference in the world?
Sometimes there is a time to stand by what we say. Today is, I believe, a time to challenge.
God of transforming difference,
help us not just to gaze upon the light,
but to be consumed by it,
that we might shine in a world
that needs your light and our action.
May we take up the mantle of love and wear it,
even when other clothes may seem more comfortable.
We are grateful to Rev Stuart Fulton, a minister in the Church of Scotland for providing the weekly pointers for February.
Pray for those like Dub who are enduring the sharp end of the consequences of a changing climate. Pray for wisdom, strength and encouragement for all who are seeking to lead and bring about change for their community and for the future of the earth.
This year we mark Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday on the same day. With sackcloth and ashes we confess our love of the earth and our lament that years of industrial pollution has been pumped into the atmosphere, bringing devastation to the lives of those least responsible for a changing, chaotic climate.