Mendelssohn's "Elijah," part III
I had just about had it.
I had just about had it.
At the end of my rope.
Doubted I could keep going.
"It is enough! O Lord, now take away my life
For I am not better than my fathers."
Thus Elijah sang.
Three recits and an aria to go.
Plus this one, with that long high D sharp towards the end.
Then, worried, I had a brain fart and sang a note too short.
Thought I'd blown it.
Panicked, I wondered what Stanley, conducting, would do.
He just kept smiling, because I'd lengthened the next note
Without realizing it.
Everything was okay!
And we made it through.
Funny how rare it is that all is lost.
But the best line comes next from the chorus:
"Go, return upon thy way,
For the Lord yet hath left Him seven thousand in Israel,
knees which have not bowed to Baal.
Go, return upon thy way!"
I don't know why the lectionary omits it.
Keep it in this week.
Remind yourself, and your people,
That you - and they - are not alone.
When you're ready to throw in the towel
When you're not sure you can keep singing
This faith business, this grace
That may only appear in the still, small silence,
Keep in mind those seven thousand!
And go on your way, in the strength of the Lord.
Scott L. Barton
I Kings 19:1-18
Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all
the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah,
saying, “So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make
your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he
was afraid; he got up and fled for his life, and came to Beer-sheba,
which belongs to Judah; he left his servant there. But he himself went
a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a
solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: “It is enough; now, O
Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.” Then
he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel
touched him and said to him, “Get up and eat.” He looked, and there at
his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate
and drank, and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came a second
time, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat, otherwise the journey
will be too much for you.” He got up, and ate and drank; then he went
in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the
mount of God.
At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there. Then the
word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you doing here,
Elijah?” He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God
of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down
your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left,
and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” He said, “Go out and
stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass
by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting
mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord
was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord
was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the
Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.
When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out
and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him
that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He answered, “I have
been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites
have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your
prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my
life, to take it away.” Then the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your
way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint
Hazael as king over Aram. Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as
king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of
Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. Whoever escapes from the sword
of Hazael, Jehu shall kill; and whoever escapes from the sword of
Jehu, Elisha shall kill. Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel,
all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has
not kissed him.”