“Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again. Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp.” – Numbers 11:25-26
“John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’ But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us.'” – Mark 9:38-40
Within the tent, You spoke to Moses, and
the sixty-eight inside proclaimed
Your word, and likewise two
who couldn’t follow clear instructions. Nice.
Outside the house, You gave the healing strength
to one who followed Jesus without following
the others. John, like Joshua before,
protested. Jesus bade him silence. Nice.
Who, after all, could smother all
the movements of Your Spirit? We
can try it all we like, but still the breath
of God moves as it will despite us. Nice.
But then, it works (or not) the opposite,
for when I’d see Your Spirit wafting wide,
“the word of God was rare those days,”
and just a few declare Your power. Nice.
And so I hear the weariness of Moses, said
to Joshua, “Would that God’s people all
were prophets!” Then the labor of disciples could
be shared, and I might rest a while. Nice.
Oh, Eldad, Medad, unnamed exorcist
of Galilee, may that same Spirit that
empowered you empower more, ’till all
rejoice in holiness and healing. Wouldn’t it be nice?
A poem/prayer based on Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29 and Mark 9:38-50, the Revised Common Lectionary First Reading (Alternate) and Gospel Reading for Year B, Proper 21 (26).
The image is Moses elects the Council of Seventy Elders by Jacob de Wit (1737) – AQGtI5P6nkpYyw at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21988106.