The Mantle

These days there is no shortage of devices to take photographs and videos. We have albums upon albums of memories: a newborn, the baptism, the first bicycle ride without training wheels, pictures of the school years, dropping that young adult at college, the wedding, and the pictures of the newborn. We record the person growing into an independent life. It is a visual record of a mantle being passed on as the child takes on the mantle of an adult. Continue reading

The Mantle Passes

In the first reading today we witness the passing of the mantle (אַדֶּרֶת addreth in Hebrew) from Elijah to Elisha. What is a mantle? Although there are variations of the meaning of mantle in the Bible, the main idea is that of a covering such as a cloak or covering as outerwear appearing in the OT (e.g. Joshua 7:21) and NT (e.g. Hebrews 1:12, in the Greek). In biblical times, a mantle was typically a large, loosely fitting garment made of animal skin, probably sheepskin. Several people are mentioned as wearing a mantle, including Job (Job 1:20) and Ezra (Ezra 9:5). The mantle served the practical purpose of keeping people warm and protecting them from the elements. It also served a symbolic purpose, in the case of the prophets, showing they were wrapped in God’s authority – a sign of their calling from God (1 Kings 19:13). Continue reading