Updated: Aug 10
Reading: 1 Kings 18:16-45
When my children were young, Elijah’s showdown against the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel was one of my family's all-time favorite scripture stories. As our children got older, we were sure to emphasize that Elijah was only able to announce these events as he heard them come from Almighty God. He didn't call the shots; he was merely the messenger and saw to it that God's message was delivered....just following orders. What an act of faith it must have been for him to call the fire from the sky like that!
Each year as we read this story and discussed the part about how the priests of Baal had even "cut themselves, as was their custom," I was shocked to discover that each of my children actually knew someone who had made use of that very same custom as a kind of coping mechanism.
Apparently, there really is nothing new under the sun.
I remember a very young student who learned his catechism from me in a small bi-ritual Catholic school where I worked part-time before I was married and had my own family. This poor little child-of-God had a very difficult life and had been practicing this same ritual of cutting himself in an effort to manage the pain. It was a compulsion that I had witnessed several times, even in my classroom, at times of stress or anxiety. Nowadays, it is considered a mental disorder to do such a thing, and I suppose that it is, but when we Christians read this reference to it, we have to shudder a bit at the thought that God's Word calls it a pagan practice which was done for the purpose of giving honor to a false god.
We think of what we know about spiritual warfare, and we understand that when we human beings call upon false gods who do not exist, there are demons who would love the chance to be so worshiped and honored and that these spirits clamor to answer the call and accept the accolades. By this reasoning, it becomes clear that the very same spirit who convinced my dear little student to decide to harm his body reveals himself as the one in this scripture story that commanded the very same twisted behavior of the priests of Baal.
I think of this poor child from my past every year as I review this scripture story and offer a prayer for him as I don't know where he is now....he must be at least 35 years old...and I wonder in what spiritual condition he must be. Will you please join me by offering a prayer for him today? God knows his name.
Thank you, and know that I pray daily for your little ones as well!
Here are a few more FUN ways to celebrate the feast of the prophet Elijah!
Make Elijah Cupcakes to remember the Showdown on Mount Carmel!
Your favorite cupcake and frosting recipe are best. Make the cupcakes according to the usual recipe and allow them to cool completely. Frost the with blue-tinted frosting first; this is to represent the water that Elijah threw over the sacrifice before he prayed. Then arrange some pretzel sticks like the firewood and pipe some orange frosting on top to make the flames!
Trick out your Bicycle. to look like a chariot!
of fire! Remember that Elijah was taken up to heaven in
a fiery chariot? Take some yellow, orange, and red crepe paper and decorate YOUR chariot too!
Weave the ribbons between the spokes of the wheels, and then make streamers for your handlebars! Maybe even tape a few to the back of your helmet so you can make a trail of crepe-paper flames behind you as you ride!!
Keep in mind that many churches bless vehicles of all kinds on the feast of the Prophet Elijah!
Ask your priest about it!
Maybe you can bring your bike!!
Would you like a raven to bring you your snack today?
Make this cute raven out of a few black paper plates and fill lit with some crackers, fruit, or cereal snacks! Use two dinner-sized plates (be sure to get the plastic kind that are black on BOTH sides!), and two black and one yellow dessert-size plates to make your raven. You'll need two googley-eyes as well. Cut and arrange your materials like this, then staple, glue, or tape all the pieces into place and fill with snacks!
Keep in mind that you can find God best in the quiet stillness of your innermost being. Remember that Elijah did not find God in the loud and powerful events of nature, but only when he quieted himself down afterward and had nothing else to distract him. Find a quiet place where you can go to be alone with God in nature and listen for His small, still voice inside your own heart!
More Resources for the Feast of the Prophet Elijah from ByziKids Magazine & ByziMom.com