ELIAS THE PROPHET!
The name Elias raises my mind to the God-loved Prophet Elias. In our youth we lived in the Bronx NY, and were members of the Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church in Yonkers. There we first learned that Prophet Elias Churches were usually built on hills. When my second grandson was born, he was named after the Prophet Elias.
Upon coming to St. Luke in East Longmeadow, I learned that the leading Psalter was named Elias; I really love that name! I had always reminded my grandson of the great name he bears, and then sought to learn all I could about Prophet Elias, what a wonderful ans glorious man! Just think, Elias saw God! Elias brought the dead back to life! Elias brought down rain and stopped it as well! Elias set water on fire! Elias, the great wonderworker, extremely zealous with absolute faith in God. As a babe, his father actually saw angels wrapping Elias in swaddling clothes, feeding him fiery tongues of divine flame! Elias later actually became a fiery flame and zealous lover of the true God. This set him at odds against many Jews who rejected the true God and choae to turn to worship of the Devil through Baal.
Spending much of his youth in prayer he drew much closer to God , who sent as His Prophet to the impious King Ahab- whose wicked wife Jezebel, slaughtered God’s prophets. She caused the King to erect a temple to the Syrian god Baal. Prophet Elias, distressed upon seeing their wickedness, prayed to the Lord who withheld rain upon the earth for three years and six months. This brought on a drought and famine. Then, Elias visited the widow Zarephath, who fed him with a small amount of flour and oil. Elias blessed them and they lasted until after the famine was over.
Jezebel appointed a thousand false prophets, turning Israelites from God to Baal. Elias challenged the priests of Baal to offer mutual sacrifices, theirs to Baal and his to the true God. No fire would be put under their sacrifices, as they called upon Baal and Elias on the true God. They cried to Baal: “O Baal hear us!” They cut themselves, and their flow of blood accompanied their desperate and vain cries to Baal from morning until evening. As their cries continued Elias mocked them, urging them to cry louder so as to awaken their god.
Elias had the people soak his sacrifice with water, then, as he prayed to the true God, fire came down from heaven, and even the water burned.. God’s acceptance of the sacrifice, just as he previously did for Abel. Elias then slew the false prophets, and the wicked Jezebel’s body was eaten up by dogs as Elias had prophesied.
Elias was taken up to heaven without death . While walking and talking with the Prophet Elisha, suddenly “there was a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and it separated between the both of them. And Elias was taken up in a whirlwind as it were into heaven.” Oh, if only we could all partake of some of the faith and divine zeal of Elias the Prophet.
Elias was greatly honored by God when Christ was transfigured on Mt. Tabor, for on one side stood the great Moses and on the other side stood great Prophet Elias!
I wish to mention another Elias, our proto-psalter, Elias Zovas, a most unusual man. It has been my joy to work with him these last few years and, he is an excellent and unusual teacher. Singing with him is like going to music school, the subject being divine hymnology and the praise of God. In my school days, teachers used a stern face or frown to show disappointment when we made mistakes. But Elias does something entirely different. When I mess up he simply smiles. So when I sing and see his gentle smile, I know what happened. What a way to teach! Elias, it is a joy to sing praises to God with you, and I thank you for you constantly bring my mind back to Elias the Prophet who pleased God so much that he never tasted death, but went up to heaven on a flaming chariot!