Elisha and the Reliable Now


Elisha understood that to follow in Elijah’s footsteps was to live in this now-moment, where Spirit exclusively, eternally inhabits. He knew that to live in the past (either in regret or in celebration of it) or to live in the future (either in dread of it or in dreamy wishfulness) is all-weakness, but that living in the present, walking in the Spirit, partaking of the infinite potential in each Spirit-imbued now-moment, confers all-power to do the works of God.

Thus Elisha, on first hearing the call of Elijah, set ablaze his trusted plow, sacrificed his blue-ribbon oxen so as to render his past totally unvisitable, that he might step boldly into the present to meet the needs of a suffering people; the oxen and plow that had once been so useful to him were now a hindrance, for there was no way to squeeze them through the unsparing passageway leading to the eternal now.

Elisha also refused, even at the request of Elijah, testing him, to tarry at any of the commemorated sacred sites where God had met with heroes of faith of yore (2 Kings 2:1-5), knowing that dwelling vicariously on any past experience, no matter how glorious or sublime, would be less than useless to him with respect to keeping pace with God in the present moment.

Elisha silenced the sons of the prophets at least twice in their insistence on a bleak, powerless future with Elijah no longer as his teacher and guide (2 Kings 2:3, 5).

At last, Elisha ripped in two his now spiritually outgrown garment to make room for Elijah’s mantle, knowing that clinging to any former experience of Spirit-mantled empowerment would at this moment leave him “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked,” altogether unreliable with respect to working the works of God now (2 Kings 2:12, Rev. 3:17).

From Mrs. Eddy’s essay, “Now and Then” – “This was an emphatic rule of St. Paul: ‘Behold, now is the accepted time.’ A lost opportunity is the greatest of losses. Whittier mourned it as what ‘might have been.’ We own no past, no future, we possess only now. If the reliable now is carelessly lost in speaking or in acting, it comes not back again. Whatever needs to be done which cannot be done now, God prepares the way for doing; while that which can be done now, but is not, increases our indebtedness to God. Faith in divine Love supplies the ever-present help and now, and gives the power to ‘act in the living present.’ ” (My. 12:18-28).

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