Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mentor: Year B, Transfiguration Sunday

This Week's Lectionary Texts
2 Kings 2:1-14
Psalm 50:1-6
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Mark 9:2-9

This Week's Reflection
The story of Elisha following Elijah around even though Elijah keeps trying to get rid of him is one of those scriptures that always make me chuckle. In my imagination, I can see it so clearly. Elijah is old and tired and probably just wants some peace and quiet for a change. I have a nine year old, intelligent, and extremely articulate son. Every day feels like this to me! He literally follows his father and I through the house, or a parking lot going into a store, or through the aisles of a store, or wherever we happen to be. And, he talks. He talks and he talks and he talks. And, sometimes what he is saying is truly brilliant, but honestly, it gets lost in the fact that my ears feel so very tired from listening.

I'm imagining a lot, I know. All I know is that in the scripture, Elijah tries three different times to get Elisha to stay behind. I'm sure I should be writing about Elisha's dedication, but all I can think is that Elijah must have been worn out by this guy who would not leave him alone!

But, we also know that he was privy to important information. Everywhere they went, a group of people would pull Elisha aside to say, "Hey, are you sure you want to be with this guy. He ain't long for this world." And, Elisha would say, "Yes, I know what I'm doing, now be quiet."

Elijah Calls Elisha
We know that in the end, Elisha asked for a double portion of the abilities that Elijah had and that it is clear that this is not Elijah's to give, but only God's. So, Elijah says that if God wills it, then Elisha will witness something amazing and know it is so.

Was Elijah a reluctant mentor to the young man? It makes me wonder how many people have come and gone in my life that God was calling me to mentor and instead, I just said, "Hey, I'm going on now. You just stay here okay. I really need my quiet time." And, what does any of that have to do with the transfiguration of Jesus which is the gospel lesson this week?

Of course, we tie the connection between the other-worldly exit of Elijah with what happened on that mountain with Peter, James, and John. Jesus, their mentor, appears changed, not to mention the presence of Moses and Elijah. Understanding what occurred on that mountain is difficult. Peter didn't get it and I'll be honest, I don't get it either. I've never really known what to preach on Transfiguration of the Lord Sunday. Not only is the whole thing pretty weird, but then Jesus tells his boys to keep it a secret.

In the letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes about "seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" while reminding those reading his letter that it is hard for "those who are perishing" to see this.

Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi
Elisha was given an opportunity to see something truly amazing which gave him strength to carry out the mission that his mentor had begun. Peter, James, and John had a similar experience in witnessing their own mentor in a new light, so to speak. And, Paul reminds us that if we are truly disciples of Christ, then we will be given this opportunity as well. Furthermore, I believe that we will also be given the opportunity to provide that experience to those with whom we minister. 

Who are you mentoring these days? Are you reluctant about it or do you invite them to the mountaintop with you? May God give each of us strength to shine the light of Christ with young disciples every chance we get.