Elijah – An Introduction

Please remember, we are not meeting tonight. You are welcome to join us for drinks on the back porch and to hand out candy on the front porch. If you do join us tonight, please make sure that you park only in our driveway and only in front of the garage doors (not in the front parking area).

For next Tuesday, and for the remainder of our lessons this year, we will be reading through the stories of Elijah as set forth in 1 Kings 17 – 2 Kings 2. Elijah lived during the reign of King Ahab (and his wife Jezebel) who ruled over the northern Kingdom of Israel about a century after the death of King David. Elijah would continuously call Israel back to the Lord and to be a faithful community. Over the centuries, Jewish thought developed to see Elijah’s return as the harbinger of the end-times Day of the Lord. See, Mal. 4:5, Matt. 17:10. Because of this belief, Jesus himself was seen by some as Elijah. Luke 9:19. The Elijah stories provide us with a wonderful follow-up to Tim Sorens’s book Everywhere You Look about how the church can form an alternative community in the world. The stories also provide us with another way of walking through and understanding Advent.

One of the themes in Sorens’ book is the church must be an alternative place of being – an institution that is in the world but not of the world. This alternativeness of the church requires a constant intentionality on our part not to succumb to the surrounding culture. Although Elijah’s surrounding culture was different than ours, both of our cultures are governed by those with political and socio-economic power and who desire to hold onto the same to the detriment of those without power. We will see in Elijah the same calling that the church has – to both separate ourselves from the power structures of the world and to minister to those outside of these power structures.  

In a similar manner, the stories of Elijah also point to the coming of the Messiah. As we read through these stories, we should see Elijah as a foreshadowing of Jesus. We will also see how Elijah prepares the way and how we too can participate in this preparation.  

For the study, all you will need is a Bible. I will be using excerpts from Walter Brueggemann’s Testimony to Otherwise: The Witness of Elijah and Elisha and Daniel Matt’s Becoming Elijah: Prophet of Transformation. The first two chapters of Brueggemann’s book are attached to provide some background as to how we will be interpreting the texts.  

I hope that you can join us for this study.

SCHEDULE: Our schedule from now until the end of the year is as follows:

  • Nov 7: Widow of Zarapeth (1 Kings 17; Luke 4:16-29)
  • Nov 14: Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18)
  • Nov 21: Thanksgiving Eucharist (reservations required)
  • Nov 28: Mount Horeb (1 King 19)
  • Dec 5: Assumption and Return (2 Kings 2, Mal. 4, Matt. 17:1-13)
  • Dec 12: Christmas Party

“Behold, I will send you Eli′jah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.”

Malachi 4:5-6

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