The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent.’” vs. 32 Kings 2:1-8
The Elijah-Elisha cycle of stories were a cherished part of Israel’s traditions, and the story of Elijah’s ascent into heaven in a chariot of fire became an important part of the messianic dream. One day Elijah would return, the prophets said, and when that happened the messiah would not be far behind. Today’s text from Kings told the tale of Elijah’s last day on earth–Elisha knew it was the end, but he didn’t want to hear about it. Again and again he tells people trying to warn him, “Yes, I know; keep silent.” The details in the text are hard to understand, there’s so much we don’t know about that time and place. But we can understand Elisha’s disinclination to talk about the end of his relationship with Elijah. Many of us have that same reluctance to talk about endings, and that’s particularly true when it comes to death. Even when all signs seem to indicate that death is coming soon for a loved one, we don’t like to say anything about it. Some would rather fib a bit, “You’ll be better soon,” than have a conversation about the reality staring them in the face. How much better it is to say the important words of love and farewell, than to go on living in denial. Elisha got that chance; sometimes we don’t!
Thought for the Day: How easy is it for me to talk about endings?