Chariots of Fire

“As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out…But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces” – 2 Kings 2:11-12

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE READING: 2 Kings 1-2, Psalm 51

Do you remember the movie Chariots of Fire that came out in 1981? It was afilm based on the true story of two British athletes in the 1924 Olympics. Eric Liddell was a devout Scottish Christian who runs for the glory of God, and Harold Abrahams was an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice. Most of us will probably remember the scene from the movie of themen dressed in all white running on the beach in the music video of the song, “Chariots of Fire,” by Vangelis. This song became a #1 song on Billboard and won an academy award “Best Original Score” (the won a total of four academy awards — including “Best Picture”).

So what does this movie have to do with our scripture reading for today? Thetitle for the film was inspired by the line, “Bring me my Chariot of fire!”, in the William Blake poem that was adapted into the British hymn “Jerusalem.” At one of the most climatic moments in the film, Lidell is handed a note of support that quotes 1 Samuel 2:30, “He that honors Me I will honor.” In our reading of Elijah, he ascends into heaven in a chariot of fire because he has lived a life that honors God.

What does it mean to live a life that honors God? To honor God is to be faithful and obedient to God. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are commanded to love God and love others. We love God through our worship of God, and we love others through our service and care for our neighbors. All of this is what we know to be discipleship. Discipleship is a journey of growing in our relationship with God that we may be faithful and obedient to all God has called us to be.

As Elijah is taken into heaven, his disciple, Elisha, is by his side and sees thewhole event. Following Elijah’s ascension, Elisha assumes the ministry of Elijah. I can’t help but notice the similarities to Matthew 28 where Jesus ascends into heaven. But before he does, he speaks these words to his disciples throughout all the ages (including you and me): “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:19-20). Perhaps if we are faithful to this mission that Jesus has given us, we will receive our own Chariot of fire.

Have an amazing weekend and I look forward to being with you in virtual worship beginning at 10:15 AM this Sunday!

May God bless you and keep you,
Matt

P.S. For the last few weeks, we have been sending all of our e-mails to our entire e-mail list in hopes of keeping you connected with our church during this time. We hope you have found the e-mails helpful. Beginning May 1, we will be moving back to using our previous e-mail lists. If you wish to continue receiving some of these e-mails, we encourage you to update your preferences and select the e-mails you wish to continue receiving. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Julie Lewis in the church office.