2 Kings 2: 1-15

New Resources

  • Exegesis (2 Kings 2:1-14)

    by Richard Donovan
  • Taking Up the Mantle

    by Victoria Lynn Garvey
  • Transfiguration (B)(2021)

    by J. Thomas Johnson
  • Of Chariots and Mountaintops

    by Beth Johnston
    When I encounter the biblical story of Elijah and Elisha, the whirlwind, and the flaming chariot I can’t help but think of the movie, “Chariots of Fire”, which came out, during my first year of university. My 19 year old self was inspired by the story of Scottish track athlete, Eric Lidell, who refused to run in a race in the 1924 Olympics which was scheduled on Sunday because of his religious convictions. Even though he firmly believed that he ran for the glory of God and “to feel God’s pleasure” he would not compete on Sunday. The entire nation was upset with this son of missionary parents because they had pinned their hopes for gold on him. Even Edward, the Prince of Wales weighed in, and attempted to change his mind. Instead, Lidell switched to a race 4 times the length and won, despite the fact that he had not trained for this type of race. He went on to return to mission work in China and died of a brain tumour in an interment camp during the war. The closing music of the movie features a track team running along a beach with “Jerusalem” as the background music. Most folks associate the tune with a poem by William Blake that references today’s passage from 2 Kings and and connects it with the hope that God would transform and heal all that was evil in the England of the Industrial Revolution...
  • Sermon Starters (Transfiguration)(B)(2021)

    by Stan Mast
    The blazing chariot and horses that represent the armies of Yahweh reminded me of C.S. Lewis’ persistent efforts to imagine what angels look like. In his space trilogy, he populates other worlds with eldila, which are invisible, sort of. In Perelandra, two eldila are trying to make themselves visible to Ransom. “And suddenly two human figures stood before him, perhaps 30 feet high. They were burning white, like white hot iron. The outline of their bodies… seemed to be faintly, swiftly undulating as though the permanence of their shape, like that of waterfalls or flames co-existed with a rushing movement of the matter it contained….” As he moves through the planets of our solar system, Ransom becomes aware that the air around him is filled with these eldila, which reminded me of Jesus words in the Garden of Gethsemane. “Don’t you know that I could have called 10000 angels.” They were and are present all the time...
  • Chariots of Fire

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    English poet William Blake used the phrase "chariot of fire" in his poem "Jerusalem," and from there it was included in William Parry's choral setting of the poem. You may have heard that hymn in the opening scene of the 1981 movie titled Chariots of Fire, which had to do with runners in the 1924 Olympics. The hymn is also often sung in England for its national connotations. The hymn does not encompass the entire poem but does include the lines: Bring me my Bow of burning gold: Bring me my Arrows of desire: Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold: Bring me my Chariot of fire! Consider the two Blake images here that include elements of the chariots of fire. We tend to associate the phrase so much with Elijah. Are either of these Elijah?...
  • Stubborn Faithfulness

    by Michael Ruffin
  • Transfiguration (B)

    by Howard Wallace
  • Transfiguration (B)(2021)

    by Kristin J. Wendland

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • Transfiguration (B)(2018)

    by Doug Bratt
    Among the United States’ most memorable transitions of authority was the one from Franklin Roosevelt to Harry Truman’s presidencies. President Roosevelt, of course, died very suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1945. The United States’ Constitution dictated that as Vice President, Truman immediately succeed him. However, Roosevelt inadvertently left his successor a kind of “test.” Roosevelt had helped oversee the development of an atomic bomb. However, he seems to have largely kept Vice President Truman “in the dark” about it. Shortly after Truman was sworn in as President of the United States, Roosevelt’s Secretary of War, Harry Stimson, told him about a new and terrible weapon physicists were developing in New Mexico. Truman then had to decide whether to use that weapon on Japan. People will perhaps always debate whether Truman “passed” that test when he decided to drop not one but two atomic bombs on Japan. But there’s no question the test required all of his wisdom and skill.
  • Proper 8C (2016)

    by Doug Bratt
    In a sermon on this passage, Samuel Wells tells the story of about a famous preacher whom he calls “a bit of a fraud.” After all, while the preacher’s sermons were great, no one ever realized that his staff assistant wrote them. The famous preacher, after all, never acknowledged all of the help his assistant gave him in preparing such marvelous messages. Eventually the assistant’s patience ran out. So one day the preacher was speaking to thousands of eager listeners and at the bottom of page two read the rousing words, “And this, my friends, takes us to the very heart of the book of Habakkuk, which is …” only to turn to page three and see nothing but the dreaded words, “You’re on your own now.”...
  • Proper 8C (2010)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Since Elijah, with Enoch, is one of the only two in the Old Testament who were able to bypass the experience of death and be transported body and soul directly to heaven, do we have here a prophetic type of the resurrection of Christ, or the ascension of Christ bodily to heaven...")
  • Transfiguration (B)(2015)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("In J.R.R. Tolkien's classic The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Frodo Baggins is the Ringbearer in the story, charged with the unenviable task of returning the evil Lord Sauron's one ring of power to the fires of Mount Doom. The only way this powerfully evil ring can be destroyed is by casting it back into the molten fires whence it was forged millennia before...")
  • Transfiguration (B)(2009)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("The recent Peter Jackson film versions of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic The Lord of the Rings trilogy contained numerous visual flourishes and flashes of brilliance as Jackson brought the richness of Tolkien's imagined worlds to the screen. But one set of images stands out in connection to the story of Mark 9 and this Old Testament lection about the chariot of fire from II Kings 2...")
  • Resurrection Threatens Death Every Day

    by Charles Hoffacker
    On March 25, 1911, Frances Perkins met friends for tea at a splendid townhouse in New York City. Suddenly they heard outside the shouts of people and the sirens of fire engines. A big fire had erupted in a ten-story building only a short distance away. That building housed the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, where hundreds of young immigrant women toiled in crowded and unsafe conditions. Frances Perkins soon saw people in panic on the upper floors of that high-rise, trying to escape the smoke and the flames. They were locked inside the building, unable to reach an exit. As Perkins approached, she saw one worker after another plummet to the sidewalk. The death toll that day was one hundred forty-six. There was history behind this horrible event. Two years earlier, some twenty thousand young women who worked at Triangle and other clothing factories had filled the streets in protest, demanding better pay, reliable schedules, and safe working conditions. The factory owners fought back. Picketers were harassed, beaten, and taken to jail. These protesters found unlikely allies in a group of wealthy women known as the Mink Brigade who carried protest signs and bailed strikers out of jail. Many of the companies reached settlements with their workers. A notable exception was Triangle...
  • God, Swing Down Low

    Art and Theology by Victoria Jones
    discusses Swing Low, Sweet Chariot including rendition by Elvis
  • Inheritance Issues

    by David Martyn
    ("Two friends meet in the street. One looks forlorn and is almost on the verge of tears. The other man says, 'Hey, how come you look like the whole world caved in?' The sad fellow says, 'Let me tell you. Three weeks ago, an uncle died and left me forty thousand dollars.'...")
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 8C)(2019)

    by Stan Mast
    In my referring to Elisha as “the One,” movie buffs will hear echoes from the classic movies about “The Matrix.” In a world dominated by computers that produce the virtual matrix in which humans live, there is a group of rebels whose mission is to destroy the computers and liberate people from the matrix. The rebels are brave and ingenious and committed, but their victory depends on some as yet unknown hero. They call him “the One.” He finally comes in the person of Keanu Reeves. Endowed with special powers and an indomitable spirit, he battles the powers that be. Though the Baals are powerful and the battle is long and hard, the One finally prevails, even though it costs him his life...
  • Inheriting the Mantle of Grace

    by Jim McCrea
    A five-year-old named Sammy who had a tumor growing in his brain. Despite the loving care of a fine doctor and his mother Hannah, Sammy grew steadily worse. Sammy’s mother brought him a tape recorder and some music he could play in the hospital. One of the songs had these words: “Our God is an awesome God. He reigns in heaven above in wisdom, power and love.”
    When he first heard these words Sammy said, “You’re kidding Mom! God is awesome?” His mom paused and said, “Sure!” “God is awesome? Does God wear an earring?” “Well,” she said, “he would if he wanted to!” And Sammy said, “Awesome! Wow!”
    By the time Sammy was six, he had lost ability to walk or talk or even see. He was in an intensive ward with other children who had lost some of their faculties. However, Sammy could still listen to his tape recorder. He played it quietly, so as not to bother the others.
    Then one day when he came to a special song, he turned the volume up, so all the kids in his ward could hear it. The lyrics said: “We declare that the kingdom of God is here! The blind see, the deaf hear, the lame man is walking. Sicknesses flee at his voice. The dead live again and the poor hear the good news Jesus is King, so rejoice!”
    After the tape finished, Sammy rewound it, and when it came to that same song, he turned up the volume again so everyone could hear the words. The doctor went over to Sammy and took his hand, saying, “You really believe that, don’t you, kiddo?” Sammy nodded his head vigorously and smiled a big smile. Some time later, Sammy died.
  • Fire. Sun. A Question of Time (2 Kings)

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    Russian artist Marc Chagall depicted the usual elements of the story in his 1971 mosaic now at the Musee Marc Chagall, Nice, France. The prophet rides in his fiery chariot, hands outstretched (or raised, perhaps). He centers the composition of this large, outdoor mosaic. Surrounding Elijah the artist has placed a circular arrangement of the signs of the zodiac. The internet says (so it must be true), that the signs of the zodiac are used to symbolize time.
  • What Elijah Wore

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    In this fresco the horses and chariot show no actual flames, but they are the red and yellow of fire. Elijah sits in the chariot holding the reins, driving the team. He wears green clothing and holds out what we presume is meant to be his mantle. In the next moment, Elijah will drop the mantle, and presumably it will float down to a waiting Elisha.
  • The Cost of Discipleship

    by Fran Ota
    ("While I was working on this sermon yesterday afternoon, I got thinking about some of the Star Trek movies; The Wrath of Khan, and The Search for Spock. In the Wrath of Khan, Captain Spock has given up his life for the rest of the crew of the Enterprise, but before he died, he put his living spirit into safekeeping with the ship's doctor, Leonard McCoy....")
  • For Heaven's Sake

    by Michael Phillips
    ("A friend of mine gave me a novel by Daniel Quinn entitled Ishmael. They are written from the imagined perspective of an ape, Ishmael, who is an amazingly intelligent historian of life on planet earth. Ishmael is a thinking, feeling animal, able to vocalize the history of planet earth from a non-human perspective....")
  • Proper 8C (2019)

    by Matt Pollock
    I was with my mom the last time she ever saw her grandmother. Mom and her grandma had a very special relationship. For weeks at a time mom would go visit her grandparents on their small farm in rural Illinois. Those were sacred times for my mom. Grandma Goldie was instrumental in her faith formation. She prayed for mom (and all of her grandchildren!) fervently. She listened well. She handed the faith that was given to her onto my mom. More than anything she loved.Their special relationship never waned. Even into her late 70’s, Grandma Goldie would make long drives to visit us, and my mom would take trips to visit her. After the years had passed where Grandma Goldie could no longer drive, my mom would go get her and bring her home where they’d spend a week or two together. They’d laugh. They’d shop. They’d tell stories...

Other Resources from 2019 and 2020

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Other Resources from 2018

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Other Resources from 2015 to 2017

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Other Resources from 2010 to 2014

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Other Resources from the Archives

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Children's Resources