THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2011
IN THE POWER OF ELIJAH
December 11, 2010
is unique among the great prophets. He was the only human
who was brought up to heaven alive. In fact, he went in
a burst of glory, “taken aloft in a whirlwind, in a
chariot with fiery horses.” (Sir 48:9). Impressive!
During his lifetime, God used him mightily. Elijah “shut
up the heavens and three times brought down fire. (He) brought
a dead man back to life ..... (He) sent kings down to destruction”
(Sir 48:3,5a,6a). What power!
was a powerful instrument of God. In God’s time and
in God’s way, “like a fire there appeared the
prophet whose words were as a flaming furnace.” (Sir
48:1). Rightly then do we look in awe upon Elijah. “How
awesome are you, Elijah! Whose glory is equal to yours?”
(Sir 48:4). Such is the case with a person chosen and used
by God for His own purposes. He steps into God’s place,
and experiences the strength and power of the awesome Almighty.
What was the task of Elijah, in speaking as God’s prophet
and acting as God’s instrument? “You are destined,
it is written, in time to come to put an end to wrath before
the day of the Lord, to turn back the hearts of fathers toward
their sons, and to re-establish the tribes of Jacob.”
was first of all to pave the way for reconciliation between
God and His people. God’s people had transgressed and
thus suffered the consequences (Ps 80:6-7). God’s people
asked that He turn away from His wrath. “Lord of hosts,
how long will you burn with anger while your people pray?”
(Ps 80:5). Elijah’s task, as God’s instrument,
was to “guide the flock of Joseph” and to “reveal
(God) to Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.” (Ps 80:2-3a).
In this way, God’s people would be restored and saved
Elijah would turn back the hearts of fathers towards their
sons, and vice versa (Mal 3:24a). The reconciliation and restoration
God wanted was not only between Him and His people, but among
family members. God established the family to reflect His
goodness and to be the basic unit of society. God would work
through the family. But in order to be able to use the family,
its members needed to be in right relationship with each other.
the third task of Elijah was to re-establish the tribes of
Jacob. God wanted the restoration of His covenant people.
God had raised Israel in order to reflect His light to the
world, so the world would see what God could do with a slave
people, raising them to great heights of power and influence.
Thus would they praise the God of Israel. With a right relationship
of His people with Him, with their own family relationships
in place, God could again use His people to bring His light
to the world.
What does all this tell us? God is about people being in right
relationship to Him, God is about family renewal, God is about
raising and restoring a covenant people, and God is about
the evangelization of the world, using a people that He has
that look familiar to you? It should. It is the very same
call to us as CFC-FFL. Look at your covenant card. It has
four main aspects: a personal relationship with God, putting
family life in order, building community, and serving the
world. The plan of God is carried out in ever-widening circles:
first the individual, then the family, then the community
(the family of families), then the world.
what is all this for? To prepare the world for the second
coming of Christ.
The Jews awaited the return of Elijah (Mt 17:10), because
that would precede the coming of the Messiah. Then their prayer
for restoration would be answered and their hope fulfilled
Jesus said something startling. First he affirmed Elijah’s
task. “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things.”
(Mt 17:11). Then he said that Elijah has already come, and
he is John the Baptist (Mt 17:12-13).
what was the task of John the Baptist? He was to prepare the
way for the Lord. Just as was the task of Elijah. And just
as our own task is.
God uses human instruments. And since God gives humans divine
work, since such work is all about the eternal salvation of
souls, since such work is about preparing for the coming in
glory of His own Son Jesus, then God empowers those whom He
Israelites had prayed for God to send a Davidic king to lead
them to victory and to restore them to God’s favor.
Thus they prayed: “May your help be with the man at
your right hand, with the one whom you once made strong.”
(Ps 80:18). The RSV version says: “But let your hand
be upon the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you
have made strong for yourself!” (Ps 80:17). The right
hand of God is power. God passes on that power, to make His
instrument strong for His own purposes.
The call to Elijah, the call to John the Baptist, is the very
same call to us. It is a call to personal holiness, to family
renewal, to building up the body that is an army, and to the
work of worldwide evangelization. If such is the task, then
the enemy will vigorously oppose us. And the enemy can bring
us down, just as he did with God’s very own covenanted
people Israel. Thus we need to very might of God.
power was given to Elijah. Such might was given to John the
Baptist. Such strength will also be given to us, to help us
fulfill our task, and to help prepare the way for the Lord.
us conform our lives to God’s ways and God’s will.
Then we can rightly claim, “My God is now my strength!”
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tradition has it that Mary did not die but was taken to heaven
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