As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” 2 Kings 2:2
Ever since the outcome of the 2016 election, there is a fantasy I’ve engaged in. Out of nowhere, a spaceship emerges. Massive, it can be seen for miles.
Suddenly, a mass exodus of people migrate towards it – illegal immigrants, deportees, children who had been housed in cages at the border, gays, and transexuals, the poor and disenfranchised, the undereducated, underemployed and homeless, the exploited and maligned, those without any healthcare, the disabled and unwanted, those who hit bottom a long time ago and never resurfaced. They come over many miles and walk for days and even weeks on end.
They go seeking refuge. Like Elijah of old, they seek to be taken up in a whirlwind into the heavens. But in the meantime, they live on a planet fractured by ecological devastation, war, famine, racism, xenophobia, sexism, and abject cruelty.
No, they are not the Elijah of old. They have no emancipatory deeds or prophetic speech to their credit. But like the chair that is left empty at gatherings in anticipation of his arrival, they are with us now.
Yet there are no spaceships or chariots of fire on either our immediate or distant horizon. No direct means to sweep them up from the terrors and extreme disappointment of this life. But they do have us.
No, we are not the heir apparent, Elisha. Painfully aware of our own limitations, we haven’t sought a double portion of the prophet’s spirit as our inheritance.
But imagine if we did.