Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
This passage from 2 Kings almost reads like the script from a Marvel movie. The scene opens with the great prophet, Elijah, who has spent his life boldly calling people back to God, walking along with his young protégé, Elisha. Apparently, it is common knowledge that today is Elijah’s last day on earth. At some point on this day, the Lord is going to “take Elijah up in a whirlwind.” As a result, young Elisha is determined not to let his mentor out of his sight. Dozens from the school of prophets also follow along, hoping to witness the spectacle.
When they get to the Jordan River, Elijah rolls up his cloak and uses it to strikes the water, like Thor's hammer. Reminiscent of Moses striking the Red Sea with his staff – the waters part, and he and Elisha cross the river on dry ground.
Now out of earshot of the onlookers, Elijah asks Elisha if there is anything he can do for him before he is taken up. Elisha’s request for a “double portion” of Elijah’s spirit sounds odd to our modern ears, but in ancient days, it would have corresponded to asking for the inheritance due to a firstborn child. In the request, we hear Elisha’s uncertainty: will the people actually listen to him? Will he be able to carry on his mentor’s work of calling people to turn away from destructive practices and seek God?
Elijah is then taken up to heaven, leaving only his cloak behind on the ground. Elisha marvels and mourns his friend. Then, gathering himself, he picks up his mentor’s cloak and returns to the river. I imagine him taking a deep breath, thinking: Okay, this is it. Will the Lord really be willing to speak through me like he spoke through Elijah?
In boldness, for all the people across the river to hear, Elisha cries out “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” Then he strikes the river with Elijah’s cloak. The waters part. The Spirit of the Lord is indeed with him to carry on the work.
Today, just as in ancient times, we need prophets. We need people with the courage to show us what is wrong with ourselves and our systems and call us to turn and emulate the merciful kindness of God.
In these current days of uncertainty, anger and deep sorrow over injustices in our country, we may find ourselves longing for the prophetic leadership of a Dr. Martin Luther King or Mother Teresa. We look to those who have been our mentors in faith for guidance in how to move forward. Yet perhaps their legacies already lie like a cloak at our feet, waiting for us to pick up. Perhaps now it is our time to take up their witness, and with bold faith, strike the river before us and be a voice for the mercy and kindness of our Lord.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
Who has deeply influenced my faith or been my spiritual mentor?
How can I carry on what I have learned from them?
How can I be a voice for mercy and justice?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"The Spirit of the Lord is with me."
"Grant me courage."
"Lord, have mercy."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Before we continue with the prayer we have been praying daily during this pandemic, let us pray for unity. Please click here to pray the Prayer to Overcome Racism. I encourage you to pray this prayer often, or one similar in your own words so that we can begin to strive towards the unity God created us for.
In this difficult time, we will use our Action step each day to join with people around the world in praying for an end to the pandemic of the Coronavirus, for the healing of all those affected, and for the comfort of all those who have lost a loved one. The prayer below is from Archbishop José H. Gomez, President of the USCCB in his reflection and prayer during coronavirus:
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Smartphone Lock Screen
The following image is here for you to save and use as a background or lock screen on your smartphone or device to help you carry today's Lectio Divina with you the rest of the day.
Today's prayer was prepared by Liz Riegel, who lives in Cary, NC and has worked for the Church in various ministries settings.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.