Wednesday, November 8
From Hate to Love
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
Remind me not to mess with Elisha! On the one hand, Elisha was extremely attentive to the needs of the people. When they settled in their new land, there were some issues with it -- dirty water that poisoned the land and killed people, including unborn babies. So Elisha cleansed the water so the people could live healthy.
On the other hand, when some youths taunted him, he cursed them so two bears mauled 42 of them. Holy cow! Not cool, Elisha!
But let's look at the story in more depth. Elisha was a prophet of God. Knowing there were more than 42 gathered suggests this was an angry mob, mocking God by taunting and threatening God's prophet. Their taunts to "go up" likely meant they were shouting at him to die like his predecessor, Elijah, who "went up" into the heavens. One man against an angry mob of haters makes his reaction more understandable.
I've never had to experience an angry mob of haters in my face. But we know there are many who have. Especially in this tense climate of fear and hate toward Muslims and blacks, my heart aches for those whose reality includes the fear and threat of angry mobs. Or even a handful of hateful people. Or a lone gunman.
When I was a child, being gay was quite dangerous. People in the LGBT community were regularly tortured and murdered. But many of us grew up teaching our kids differently. Recently, my 13-year-old daughter had a Halloween party and invited not only her girlfriends, but a few boys and her friend who is transitioning. And quite frankly, I couldn't tell who was what based on how the kids treated each other. They were family. No matter what. What a different world my kids will live in with regards to sexual and gender identity!
I pray my kids will do the same with their kids when it comes to hate toward blacks and Muslims (and many other ostracized groups). Maybe their kids will host Halloween parties with kids that don't even speak English, and they won't notice because they are bi- and tri-lingual themselves. I hope our world continues to move more toward acceptance and love. I know I will do my part to work through my own prejudices (we all have them) and encourage emerging generations to do the same.
Narrative Lectionary Text: 2 Kings 2:19-25
Now the people of the city said to Elisha, “The location of this city is good, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the land is unfruitful.” He said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. Then he went to the spring of water and threw the salt into it, and said, “Thus says the Lord, I have made this water wholesome; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it.” So the water has been wholesome to this day, according to the word that Elisha spoke. He went up from there to Bethel; and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, “Go away, baldhead! Go away, baldhead!” When he turned around and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two she-bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys. From there he went on to Mount Carmel, and then returned to Samaria.