Mendelssohn's "Elijah," part II
Cynthia and I sang this text years ago.
I, Elijah; she, the widow.
I still remember her voice,
Bereft from losing her son,
She wonders if Elijah
Has recalled to God her sin.
"Give me thy son," Elijah sings.
"In mercy heal this widow's son;
"In mercy heal this widow's son!
"Lord, in mercy heal this widow's son."
He doesn't give up.
And then, surprise!
"Now behold, thy son liveth!"
And now she knows, she sings,
That he's a man of God,
And that the word in his mouth is the truth.
"What shall I render to the Lord
For all his benefits to me?"
The oratorio recalls Psalm 116 for this question;
And then, for the answer, Deuteronomy 6,
Which Jesus remembered too:
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God,
Love him, with all thy heart,
And with all thy soul,
And with all thy might;"
And now Elijah and the widow
Are soaring with the Psalmist:
"Oh, blessed are they,
Are they who fear him!"
And now it's the chorus's turn
To sing in dulcet tones of blessedness.
And now it's our turn, too,
To claim the blessedness
Of knowing Elijah's God still,
To remember it, and live it,
And walk in the ways of peace,
All our days.
Scott L. Barton
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Go now to Zarephath,
which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow
there to feed you.” So he set out and went to Zarephath. When he came
to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks; he called
to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, so that I may
drink.” As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said,
“Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” But she said, “As the Lord
your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar,
and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so
that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may
eat it, and die.” Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid; go and do as
you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to
me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son. For thus
says the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of meal will not be emptied
and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends
rain on the earth.” She went and did as Elijah said, so that she as
well as he and her household ate for many days. The jar of meal was
not emptied, neither did the jug of oil fail, according to the word of
the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.
After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became
ill; his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him.
She then said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You
have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to cause the death
of my son!” But he said to her, “Give me your son.” He took him from
her bosom, carried him up into the upper chamber where he was lodging,
and laid him on his own bed. He cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God,
have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I am staying,
by killing her son?” Then he stretched himself upon the child three
times, and cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this child’s
life come into him again.” The Lord listened to the voice of Elijah;
the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. Elijah took
the child, brought him down from the upper chamber into the house, and
gave him to his mother; then Elijah said, “See, your son is alive.” So
the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and
that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.”