The whole mantle thing is interesting. We use it like a symbol because it is a symbol of course. When we pick up the mantle of someone before us, be it Martin Luther King, Oscar Romero, Nelson Mandela etc we talk as if we take on some of them, we want to be versions of them and do a version of what they did. Little mirror images.
Elisha was always meant to be his own person. He wasn’t ever meant to be Elijah. Continue the story, the vision, the calling, but not be him. Elisha wasn’t to be a version of Elijah. he was to be himself because the story had been passed to him, the Spirit, the word: he was to tell it, speak it, be it. It was a new era.
The mantle was a symbol, not of the person, but the Spirit of God (for mantle can be translated as spirit): the energy of God has been reborn in a new person. No clones here. And a double share? Well, yes! The echo and memory of the old invested in the anxiety and enthusiasm of the new. That is one heck of a lot of power: memory and enthusiasm. You can do a lot with that.
Hymns and songs that might inform this passage? Incidental music? How would you read the passage to make it more of an encounter with God?
God is more 'god' when God keeps silence rather than all the roaring and fire and thunder, and lightning etc. My God is a quiet God. I don't know if God even has a mouth or lips or can make any sound. The pharisees wanted Jesus to call down some great sign or wanted heaven to roar or something like that to make God 'God'. And the bible is full of great miracles and noise and voices and stuff. But God is more 'god' when there is silence: just a presence, just a purpose, just a calling, an urge, a movement that says 'there are things bigger than you can ever speak of, hear, understand or comprehend.'
Here's Elijah getting the same message. Signs and wonders are easy and they make God sort of magical and awe inspiring. The silence is different. It's more powerful. It's everything that's left when the noise runs out. It's what is behind all things that try and make themselves noticed by drawing your attention towards them. It's the vastness that holds everything that clangs and shouts and is certainly not empty. The silence is always there. Sometimes you can't hear it because of the noise but it is always there. Noise isn't. It always runs out. That's why silence is more God-like than earthquakes, wind and fire.
My God is the quiet one.
Any hymns that might be appropriate (except Dear Lord and Father of Mankind). What symbol might be placed on the communion table to represent this silent God? What other music might be played from popular culture that might help draw us from contemporary to ancient?