Week of Proper 5: Saturday, Year 2   7 comments

Above:  Elisha

Unexpected Vocations

JUNE 11, 2022


Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), of The Episcopal Church, contains an adapted two-years weekday lectionary for the Epiphany and Ordinary Time seasons from the Anglican Church of Canada.  I invite you to follow it with me.


1 Kings 19:19-21 (TANAKH:  The Holy Scriptures):

[Elijah] set out from there and came upon Elisha son of Shaphat as he was plowing.  There were twelve yoke oxen ahead of him, and he was with the twelfth.  Elijah came over to him and threw his mantle over him.  He left the oxen and ran after Elijah, saying:

Let me kiss my father and mother good-by, and I will follow you.

And he answered him,

Go back.  What have I done to you?

He turned back from him and took the yoke of oxen and slaughtered them; he boiled their meat with the gear of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate.  Then he arose and followed Elijah and became his attendant.

Psalm 16:1-7 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Protect me, O God, for I take refuge in you;

I have said to the LORD, “You are my Lord,

my good above all other.”

All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land,

upon those who are noble among the people.

But those who run after other gods

shall have their troubles multiplied.

4 Their libations of blood I will not offer,

nor take the names of their gods upon my lips.

O LORD, you are my portion and my cup;

it is you who uphold my lot.

6 My boundaries enclose a pleasant land;

indeed, I have a goodly heritage.

I will bless the LORD who gives me counsel;

my heart teaches me, night after night.

Matthew 5:33-37 (An American Translation):

[Jesus continued,]

Again, you have heard that the men of old were told, “You shall not swear falsely, but you must fulfill your oaths to the Lord.”  But I tell you not to swear at all, either by heaven, for it is God’s throne, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great king.  You must not swear by your own head, for you cannot make one single hair white or black.  But your way of speaking must be “Yes” or “No.”  Anything that goes beyond that comes from the evil one.


The Collect:

O God, your never-failing providence sets in order all things both in heaven and earth:  Put away from us, we entreat you, all hurtful things, and give us those things which are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.


Some Related Posts:

Week of Proper 5:  Saturday, Year 1:


Matthew 5:




I Have Chosen Thee, My Savior:



There is a difficult-to-translate passage in 1 Kings 19:20.  Elisha is willing to leave his parents and follow Elijah.  First, however, he wants to say a proper farewell.  This is reasonable and respectful with regard to the parents.  Elijah responds,

Go back.  What have I done to you?

The text is vague.  Elijah either objected or did not object to Elisha saying goodbye to his parents.  The text does not indicate whether Elisha said farewell to his parents, but it does record that he made a clear break with his past and became Elijah’s servant and disciple. Elisha, of course, became a great prophet and a wonder-worker, like his mentor.  None of those details and narratives would be in the Bible if he had remained behind the plow.

Elisha did not wake up that morning anticipating what happened, but his life took a turn with this call of God on his life.  Sometimes life-changing events occur without advance notice.  Elisha recognized this call for what it was and responded accordingly.  May we do the same when God calls us, regardless of how the call comes and what the details of it are.


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