After the end of a difficult legislative session in Springfield, CRS Executive Director, Rev. Curtiss Paul DeYoung, shared the following encouragement with CRS leaders at the summer Leadership Council on June 21, 2014.
“As a man was being buried, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha; as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he came to life and stood on his feet” (2 Kings 13:21).
At the end of a legislative season with few victories we must lament. The process of lament can feel much like a funeral. It feels like death. After this season we feel like we have experienced a death … a death of hoped for outcomes … a death of just legislation … a death of righteous efforts. While lament is necessary and even required, we cannot remain there.
Have we buried our hopes and dreams? Have we let go of should be and settled for what is? Have we said goodbye to good policy? Let me remind you we are also people who believe in resurrection and life. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).
This obscure text from 2 Kings speaks in a unique and powerful way to our current reality. We read that Elisha the prophet is dead and buried. The prophet is dead. We are prophets and we feel dead. We have been speaking truth to power with no visible victory.
Yet this story reminds us that the power of the prophet never dies. The text encourages us to touch the bones of the prophet. We must hold onto the just legislation we have worked so hard to pass. By holding onto the calls for and acts of justice we are touching the prophetic words that give us life. And the text assures us that if we touch the bones we will come to life and we will stand on our feet … ready to fight for justice yet another day!
Our work is never in vain. The seeds of future justice have been planted. As Martin Luther King Jr. would often quote from William Cullen Bryant, “Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again.” What seems like the end is often just the prelude to a new beginning.
Death can produce life. The power of the prophet never dies. We are a resurrection people!