From the Pastor – Passing the Mantle 1 Kings 19:19-21

Dear friends and members of Grace Baptist Church,

Last Sunday our sermon focused on the theme of religious liberty and the role our Baptists forebears played in establishing religious liberty in the United States.  I encouraged us to “keep our hand on the plow and to hold on” to the gift of religious liberty.  If you would like to learn more about religious liberty and the work of the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty, here is a link to their website and a link to some of their educational resources.  I hope last Sunday’s sermon is a beginning of a conversation for all of us.  I believe practicing our baptist beliefs of soul liberty, religious liberty, and separation of church and state are important and help us resist the lure of making an idol out of our nation.  This is true for us and true for any Christian in any country in the world.

Our scripture passage for this Sunday is from I Kings 19:19-21.  This passage is about two Old Testament Prophets, Elijah and Elisha.  Your Bible may give it the title, “The Call of Elisha” or “Elisha Becomes Elijah’s Disciple.”  In the story, as Elisha is plowing his field, the prophet Elijah throws his mantle over Elisha.  This symbolic act is to fulfill God’s command to Elijah to anoint Elisha as a prophet in his place. In the story, Elisha hesitates to respond to Elijah’s action.  He requests to go back to say goodbye to his family.  Elisha does go to say goodbye to his family.  But while saying goodbye, he slaughters the oxen, which is symbolic of making a decisive break from his past life to follow Elijah.

This passage invites us to consider the theme of “Passing the mantle” from one to the next, an appropriate theme for this Sunday’s worship service as we will be having a service of baptism and welcoming new church members into our faith community.  As we prepare for Sunday worship, I invite you to prayerfully reflect on your Christian faith and relationships.  Elijah was called to help prepare Elisha for God’s call in his life.  Who is your Elijah?  Who is your mentor?  Likewise, who is your Elisha?  Who are you reaching back towards, to help shepherd and disciple them into deeper Christian faith?

Looking forward to Sunday,

Pastor David

David Braneky


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