Lessons for the Last Sunday after the Epiphany, February 11, 2018

Second Kings 2: 1-12

As in much of the Books of Kings, this is a story of succession, prophetic succession followed by royal succession.  Told in a story of a journey, prophetic leadership in the northern Kingdom of Israel is here passed on from Elijah to Elisha.  The journey narrative seems to reflect the opposite of the one Joshua led, beginning at the Jordan, moving Israel into Canaan.  Elijah now returns to the Jordan River for the succession to Elisha and for his dramatic ascent to Heaven.  In three stages of the journey Elisha swears his loyalty to Elijah and at the end, receives Elijah’s mantle, the symbol of authority.

II Second Letter Paul to the Church in Corinth  4: 3-6

In the background of Paul’s letter to Corinth is his fear of a second  unhealthy Gospel being preached there by unknown visitors.  It concerns him greatly. This presence, the “God of this world” is dangerous; it must be opposed so that Paul’s Gospel may be heard and understood.  Paul’s Gospel is not his own, of course; it is Jesus Christ as Lord.

Mark 9: 2-9

In each of the lectionary years, A, B &C, one of the Synoptic Gospel stories of the Transfiguration is read on the Sunday before Lent.  This year it is from Mark.  The Luke pericope is read again on the 6th of August, the Feast of the Transfiguration.  “Transfiguration” means the changing of shape or appearance.  The startling vision of Jesus with Moses and Elijah must have thrown the disciples for a loop and given