Wednesday, June 1, 2016

that ain't no burka neither

Below is our OT reading for Sunday, the whole thing, a story, not to say tale, about Elijah. In my innocent ignorance I have called his line, “Bring me a drink of water, Baby” the mating call of the prophet-bird. But I’m cleared, ratified, later in the story when the widow says to Elijah, “You have come to remind me of my sin,” which he had been sleeping at her house and we are not naive. She thinks her son being sick means that she is being punished for her sin. The story’s point may be that the prophet, praying God, saved the widow and child from starvation, then later more powerfully restored the child to life; and Christians are to take this as a precursor to Jesus’ even more powerful dunamis (Luke 7:11-17 gospel for Sunday) that greater than Elijah is here. Luke presents Jesus as the ultimate prophet, and the remarkable similarity of the stories is meant not to be missed; perhaps including that with Elijah the boy’s body is still warm, but with Luke the widow's son is stone cold dead. Not to mention that in Luke the prophet comes upon a scene, compassionately saves, and there is no innuendo. Ah, and something about gentiles. I think I’ve said enough, no point in wading deeper into this bog. And yet Bernardo Strozzi (17th C.) does have the widow somewhat voluptuous.

1 Kings 17:8-16 (17-24)
The word of the Lord came to Elijah, saying, "Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you." So he set out and went to Zarephath. When he came to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks; he called to her and said, "Bring me a little water in a vessel, so that I may drink." As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, "Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand." But she said, "As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die." Elijah said to her, "Do not be afraid; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth." She went and did as Elijah said, so that she as well as he and her household ate for many days. The jar of meal was not emptied, neither did the jug of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.

[After this, the son of the woman, the mistress of the house at Zarephath, became ill; his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. She then said to Elijah, "What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to cause the death of my son!" But he said to her, "Give me your son." He took him from her bosom, carried him up into the upper chamber where he was lodging, and laid him on his own bed. He cried out to the Lord, "O Lord my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I am staying, by killing her son?" Then he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried out to the Lord, "O Lord my God, let this child's life come into him again." The Lord listened to the voice of Elijah; the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. Elijah took the child, brought him down from the upper chamber into the house, and gave him to his mother; then Elijah said, "See, your son is alive." So the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth."]

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