To Legit to Quit - 1 Kings 18:41-19:8

Homily at the Iona School for Ministry

Three years ago, I was watching a music awards ceremony with my sons because the South Korean singer, rapper and dancer PSY was going to perform on the show.

This was the year that Gangham Style was played a lot in our house.

A lot.

And there was a lot of horse-riding-dancing going on.

True to form, Psy appeared on the show and sang and danced Gangham Style with lots of dancers, lasers, and explosions.
 
The boys were happy and dancing around.
 
And then about three minutes into it, when it felt like the performance was winding up, the spotlight shown on a man in a black and white suit wearing sunglasses.
 
And the music changed and started  over.  
 
Gangham Style had morphed into the repeated phrase - "too legit ... too legit to quit"
 
At which point, this dad who was trying to be excited about hearing Gangham Style for something like the fortieth time that month looked at the screen and jumped up off the couch.
 
Look, it's MC Hammer!
 
To which my boys, of course, responded ... 
 
Who?
 
I explained to them that MC Hammer was a rapper and a dancer popular in the late 1980s, and how this song and video, "too legit to quit," was the Hammer's response to rumors that the Hammer was hanging up his giant baggy pants and stop performing.
 
I also went on to tell them about how the music video for too legit to quit was the most expensive ever made at the time, went on and on for 15 minutes, had cameos of lots of stars, and was generally completely over the top.
 
The video involved a "plot" in which James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, sitting a golden throne flanked by dragons, was training Hammer as his Godson to avenge the lack of respect given to Brown by Michael Jackson.
 
So, of course, Brown had to shoot fireballs of funky power at Hammer, to get Hammer ready for a dance off with Jackson - with Jackson's sparkly white glove as the prize.
 
Brown then sends Hammer and his dancers off with the admonition  -- "never quit, never quit, never quit, show them what time it is."
 
"Uh, papa, what are you talking about?"
 
Ok ... alright, ...just watch the Hammer.
 
Too legit .. to legit to quit  [HAND MOTION]
 
*
 
Which, of course, is exactly the command that God has for Elijah in our reading today from 1 Kings.  
 
King Ahab and Queen Jezebel had both turned the nation of Israel from the worship of the Lord to the worship of Baal and Ashera, including the practice of child sacrifice.  1 Kings 16:34
 
In response, Elijah announces to Ahab that the Lord is bringing a deadly three year drought and resulting famine in the land of Israel.
 
Ahab, enraged, tries to find Elijah in all of the surrounding countries to kill Elijah, but the Lord keeps on picking up Elijah and moving him so Elijah can escape.
 
But now the Lord tells Elijah to stop running and confront King Ahab, which Elijah does.
 
Right before our reading, Elijah had just agreed to a deadly contest with King Ahab to determine which God Israel will follow -- Baal or the Lord.
 
Elijah agreed a barbecue sacrifice--off against 450 false prophets of Baal.
 
The stakes not a white sparkly glove but the death the prophet whose god did not rain down fire on one of the competing altars to consume the bull sacrifice.
 
After the 450 false prophets had been at a while, calling on Baal to consume the sacrifice on their altar, but at noon Elijah decided was so confident he started talking trash.
 
"Cry aloud! Surely [Baal] is a god; either he is meditating, or he has wandered away, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened."
 
"As midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice, no answer, and no response." 
 
And then Elijah got cocky.
 
"Elijah dug a trench around the Lord's altar, and had all the people gathered to watch the contest pour water all over the bull and the water--so much water that the water ran around the altar filled the trench around the altar"--all presumably to make it harder for the Lord to set fire to the sacrifice.

"When all of that was done, Elijah called on the Lord."
 
"Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back." 38

"Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench." 

"When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, "The LORD indeed is God; the LORD indeed is God."

The people then went and killed the 450 prophets of Baal
 
But now, in today's reading, after all of that bravery against Ahab and 450 opponents and God's spectacular display of saving Power, Elijah seems to have lost his nerve and his faith that God will protect Elijah from Queen Jezebel.
 
Ahab had told Jezebel about the contest and how Elijah had all 450 false prophets killed.
 
Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow."
 
Elijah is frightened, so he gets up and flees for his life to Israel's southern neighbor Judah and heads off into the wilderness.
 
And then, despairing, just not being able to take it anymore, Elijah gives up.
 
Elijah is tired of the confrontation and constant threat to his life.
 
He is tired of having the most powerful political enemies he could have--the corrupt king and queen.
 
Elijah is tired of working for the Lord.
 
So Elijah sits down, afraid and alone, under a solitary broom tree.
 
Elijah then asks the Lord to allow him to die.
 
It is enough; now, O LORD, 
 
take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors." 
 
Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep, hoping to just die.
 
But God was not done with Elijah yet.
 
God sent an angel two times to bring Elijah food in the wilderness under that lonely broom tree.
 
More importantly, the Angel brought Elijah the same message two times.
 
"Get up" Elijah.
 
"Get up and eat".
 
You have more to do.
 
God loves you and needs you.
 
God's people love you and need you to lead them to freedom from the tyranny of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel.
 
God called you to this job, God gave you the authority to do this God, and God will give you the strength to see this job through until the end.
 
Elijah, get up and eat.
 
Get up, restore yourself, and get back to it.
 
Get back on the road.
 
Elijah, you are too legit to quit.
 
*
The thing is, when we are honest with ourselves, all of us in this room know exactly what Elijah was going through.
 
Working a job, working in a ministry like the Daughters of the King, leading a church, studying or teaching at the Iona School, and trying give marriage, family, or friends the time they deserve is hard.
 
It's tiring.
 
And then, if something unexpected happens or something goes wrong -- look out!
 
An unexpected death, or hospital visit, or cuts to health care or social services at city hall that have to be resisted can leave us spent.
 
Conflicts at church. gossip at church, and people questioning our motives can drain us of all of our energy.
 
We get tired.
 
We get exhausted.
 
We start looking for the nearest broom tree to curl up and die under.
 
Ready to quit.
 
Ready to quit this crazy adventure.
 
Ready to quit working for the Lord.
 
But if you ever end up under that broom tree with Elijah, or if you are under that broom tree now, know this.
 
The Lord is not done with you yet.
 
Know this, when you are under that broom tree the Lord will feed you what you need to regain your strength.
 
Take this time now under the tree to eat what the Lord gives you.
 
Know this, when you are under that broom tree, the Lord will give you living waters to quench your thirst.
 
Take this time now under the tree to drink what the Lord gives you.
 
And after the Lord has fed and watered you when you are laid out under that broom tree, know this.
 
The Lord will raise you up.
 
The Lord will set you back on your feet.
 
The Lord will send you out walking to the mountain again.
 
Why get back on you feet?
 
Because the Lord loves you even if you don't love Him right now.
 
Why get back on your feet?
 
Because the Lord needs you, needs you to get up, get up and bring God's love to people so lonesome for God that they do not even remember who God is.
 
Why get back on your feet?
 
Because the Lord needs to you, needs you to get up, get up and breath new life, energy and passion into this this tired and afraid Church of ours.
 
Why get back on your feet?
 
Because the Lord needs you, needs you to get up, get up and stand up with the poor, the sick, the migrant, and the oppressed who know what it means to depend on God alone.
 
You are training for this.
 
You are called by God for this.
 
You have been born for this.
 
God need you.
 
God's church needs you.
 
God's world needs you.
 
And you --each and every one of you--are too legit, too legit to quit.
 
Amen.

 

 
 
 
Too Legit to Quit  Official Video   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFCv86Olk8E 
Psy and MC Hammer at AMA Awards  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efQUSgJTMZc 

Conflicting modification on September 12, 2015 at 7:58:29 AM:


Three years ago, I was watching a music awards ceremony with my sons because the South Korean singer, rapper and dancer PSY was going to perform on the show.
 
This was the year that Gangham Style was played a lot in our house.
 
A lot.
 
And there was a lot of horse-riding-dancing going on.
 
True to form, Psy appeared on the show and sang and danced Gangham Style with lots of dancers, lasers, and explosions.
 
The boys were happy and dancing around.
 
And then about three minutes into it, when it felt like the performance was winding up, the spotlight shown on a man in a black and white suit wearing sunglasses.
 
And the music changed and started  over.  
 
Gangham Style had morphed into the repeated phrase - "too legit ... too legit to quit"
 
At which point, this dad who was trying to be excited about hearing Gangham Style for something like the fortieth time that month looked at the screen and jumped up off the couch.
 
Look, it's MC Hammer!
 
To which my boys, of course, responded ... 
 
Who?
 
I explained to them that MC Hammer was a rapper and a dancer popular in the late 1980s, and how this song and video, "too legit to quit," was the Hammer's response to rumors that the Hammer was hanging up his giant baggy pants and stop performing.
 
I also went on to tell them about how the music video for too legit to quit was the most expensive ever made at the time, went on and on for 15 minutes, had cameos of lots of stars, and was generally completely over the top.
 
The video involved a "plot" in which James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, sitting a golden throne flanked by dragons, was training Hammer as his Godson to avenge the lack of respect given to Brown by Michael Jackson.
 
So, of course, Brown had to shoot fireballs of funky power at Hammer, to get Hammer ready for a dance off with Jackson - with Jackson's sparkly white glove as the prize.
 
Brown then sends Hammer and his dancers off with the admonition  -- "never quit, never quit, never quit, show them what time it is."
 
"Uh, papa, what are you talking about?"
 
Ok ... alright, ...just watch the Hammer.
 
Too legit .. to legit to quit  [HAND MOTION]
 
*
 
Which, of course, is exactly the command that God has for Elijah in our reading today from 1 Kings.  
 
King Ahab and Queen Jezebel had both turned the nation of Israel from the worship of the Lord to the worship of Baal and Ashera, including the practice of child sacrifice.  1 Kings 16:34
 
In response, Elijah announces to Ahab that the Lord is bringing a deadly three year drought and resulting famine in the land of Israel.
 
Ahab, enraged, tries to find Elijah in all of the surrounding countries to kill Elijah, but the Lord keeps on picking up Elijah and moving him so Elijah can escape.
 
But now the Lord tells Elijah to stop running and confront King Ahab, which Elijah does.
 
Right before our reading, Elijah had just agreed to a deadly contest with King Ahab to determine which God Israel will follow -- Baal or the Lord.
 
Elijah agreed a barbecue sacrifice--off against 450 false prophets of Baal.
 
The stakes not a white sparkly glove but the death the prophet whose god did not rain down fire on one of the competing altars to consume the bull sacrifice.
 
After the 450 false prophets had been at a while, calling on Baal to consume the sacrifice on their altar, but at noon Elijah decided was so confident he started talking trash.
 
"Cry aloud! Surely [Baal] is a god; either he is meditating, or he has wandered away, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened."
 
"As midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice, no answer, and no response." 
 
And then Elijah got cocky.
 
"Elijah dug a trench around the Lord's altar, and had all the people gathered to watch the contest pour water all over the bull and the water--so much water that the water ran around the altar filled the trench around the altar"--all presumably to make it harder for the Lord to set fire to the sacrifice.

"When all of that was done, Elijah called on the Lord."
 
"Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back." 38

"Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench." 

"When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, "The LORD indeed is God; the LORD indeed is God."

The people then went and killed the 450 prophets of Baal
 
But now, in today's reading, after all of that bravery against Ahab and 450 opponents and God's spectacular display of saving Power, Elijah seems to have lost his nerve and his faith that God will protect Elijah from Queen Jezebel.
 
Ahab had told Jezebel about the contest and how Elijah had all 450 false prophets killed.
 
Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow."
 
Elijah is frightened, so he gets up and flees for his life to Israel's southern neighbor Judah and heads off into the wilderness.
 
And then, despairing, just not being able to take it anymore, Elijah gives up.
 
Elijah is tired of the confrontation and constant threat to his life.
 
He is tired of having the most powerful political enemies he could have--the corrupt king and queen.
 
Elijah is tired of working for the Lord.
 
So Elijah sits down, afraid and alone, under a solitary broom tree.
 
Elijah then asks the Lord to allow him to die.
 
It is enough; now, O LORD, 
 
take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors." 
 
Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep, hoping to just die.
 
But God was not done with Elijah yet.
 
God sent an angel two times to bring Elijah food in the wilderness under that lonely broom tree.
 
More importantly, the Angel brought Elijah the same message two times.
 
"Get up" Elijah.
 
"Get up and eat".
 
You have more to do.
 
God loves you and needs you.
 
God's people love you and need you to lead them to freedom from the tyranny of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel.
 
God called you to this job, God gave you the authority to do this God, and God will give you the strength to see this job through until the end.
 
Elijah, get up and eat.
 
Get up, restore yourself, and get back to it.
 
Get back on the road.
 
Elijah, you are too legit to quit.
 
*
The thing is, when we are honest with ourselves, all of us in this room know exactly what Elijah was going through.
 
Working a job, working in a ministry like the Daughters of the King, leading a church, studying or teaching at the Iona School, and trying give marriage, family, or friends the time they deserve is hard.
 
It's tiring.
 
And then, if something unexpected happens or something goes wrong -- look out!
 
An unexpected death, or hospital visit, or cuts to health care or social services at city hall that have to be resisted can leave us spent.
 
Conflicts at church. gossip at church, and people questioning our motives can drain us of all of our energy.
 
We get tired.
 
We get exhausted.
 
We start looking for the nearest broom tree to curl up and die under.
 
Ready to quit.
 
Ready to quit this crazy adventure.
 
Ready to quit working for the Lord.
 
But if you ever end up under that broom tree with Elijah, or if you are under that broom tree now, know this.
 
The Lord is not done with you yet.
 
Know this, when you are under that broom tree the Lord will feed you what you need to regain your strength.
 
Take this time now under the tree to eat what the Lord gives you.
 
Know this, when you are under that broom tree, the Lord will give you living waters to quench your thirst.
 
Take this time now under the tree to drink what the Lord gives you.
 
And after the Lord has fed and watered you when you are laid out under that broom tree, know this.
 
The Lord will raise you up.
 
The Lord will set you back on your feet.
 
The Lord will send you out walking to the mountain again.
 
Why get back on you feet?
 
Because the Lord loves you even if you don't love Him right now.
 
Why get back on your feet?
 
Because the Lord needs you, needs you to get up, get up and bring God's love to people so lonesome for God that they do not even remember who God is.
 
Why get back on your feet?
 
Because the Lord needs to you, needs you to get up, get up and breath new life, energy and passion into this this tired and afraid Church of ours.
 
Why get back on your feet?
 
Because the Lord needs you, needs you to get up, get up and stand up with the poor, the sick, the migrant, and the oppressed who know what it means to depend on God alone.
 
You are training for this.
 
You are called by God for this.
 
You have been born for this.
 
God need you.
 
God's church needs you.
 
God's world needs you.
 
And you --each and every one of you--are too legit, too legit to quit.
 
Amen.

 

 
 
 
Too Legit to Quit  Official Video   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFCv86Olk8E 
Psy and MC Hammer at AMA Awards  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efQUSgJTMZc 

Conflicting modification on September 12, 2015 at 9:10:10 PM:


Three years ago, I was watching a music awards ceremony with my sons because the South Korean singer, rapper and dancer PSY was going to perform on the show.
 
This was the year that Gangham Style was played a lot in our house.
 
A lot.
 
And there was a lot of horse-riding-dancing going on.
 
True to form, Psy appeared on the show and sang and danced Gangham Style with lots of dancers, lasers, and explosions.
 
The boys were happy and dancing around.
 
And then about three minutes into it, when it felt like the performance was winding up, the spotlight shown on a man in a black and white suit wearing sunglasses.
 
And the music changed and started  over.  
 
Gangham Style had morphed into the repeated phrase - "too legit ... too legit to quit"
 
At which point, this dad who was trying to be excited about hearing Gangham Style for something like the fortieth time that month looked at the screen and jumped up off the couch.
 
Look, it's MC Hammer!
 
To which my boys, of course, responded ... 
 
Who?
 
I explained to them that MC Hammer was a rapper and a dancer popular in the late 1980s, and how this song and video, "too legit to quit," was the Hammer's response to rumors that the Hammer was hanging up his giant baggy pants and stop performing.
 
I also went on to tell them about how the music video for too legit to quit was the most expensive ever made at the time, went on and on for 15 minutes, had cameos of lots of stars, and was generally completely over the top.
 
The video involved a "plot" in which James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, sitting a golden throne flanked by dragons, was training Hammer as his Godson to avenge the lack of respect given to Brown by Michael Jackson.
 
So, of course, Brown had to shoot fireballs of funky power at Hammer, to get Hammer ready for a dance off with Jackson - with Jackson's sparkly white glove as the prize.
 
Brown then sends Hammer and his dancers off with the admonition  -- "never quit, never quit, never quit, show them what time it is."
 
"Uh, papa, what are you talking about?"
 
Ok ... alright, ...just watch the Hammer.
 
Too legit .. to legit to quit  [HAND MOTION]
 
*
 
Which, of course, is exactly the command that God has for Elijah in our reading today from 1 Kings.  
 
King Ahab and Queen Jezebel had both turned the nation of Israel from the worship of the Lord to the worship of Baal and Ashera, including the practice of child sacrifice.  1 Kings 16:34
 
In response, Elijah announces to Ahab that the Lord is bringing a deadly three year drought and resulting famine in the land of Israel.
 
Ahab, enraged, tries to find Elijah in all of the surrounding countries to kill Elijah, but the Lord keeps on picking up Elijah and moving him so Elijah can escape.
 
But now the Lord tells Elijah to stop running and confront King Ahab, which Elijah does.
 
Right before our reading, Elijah had just agreed to a deadly contest with King Ahab to determine which God Israel will follow -- Baal or the Lord.
 
Elijah agreed a barbecue sacrifice--off against 450 false prophets of Baal.
 
The stakes not a white sparkly glove but the death the prophet whose god did not rain down fire on one of the competing altars to consume the bull sacrifice.
 
After the 450 false prophets had been at a while, calling on Baal to consume the sacrifice on their altar, but at noon Elijah decided was so confident he started talking trash.
 
"Cry aloud! Surely [Baal] is a god; either he is meditating, or he has wandered away, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened."
 
"As midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice, no answer, and no response." 
 
And then Elijah got cocky.
 
"Elijah dug a trench around the Lord's altar, and had all the people gathered to watch the contest pour water all over the bull and the water--so much water that the water ran around the altar filled the trench around the altar"--all presumably to make it harder for the Lord to set fire to the sacrifice.

"When all of that was done, Elijah called on the Lord."
 
"Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back." 38

"Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench." 

"When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, "The LORD indeed is God; the LORD indeed is God."

The people then went and killed the 450 prophets of Baal
 
But now, in today's reading, after all of that bravery against Ahab and 450 opponents and God's spectacular display of saving Power, Elijah seems to have lost his nerve and his faith that God will protect Elijah from Queen Jezebel.
 
Ahab had told Jezebel about the contest and how Elijah had all 450 false prophets killed.
 
Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow."
 
Elijah is frightened, so he gets up and flees for his life to Israel's southern neighbor Judah and heads off into the wilderness.
 
And then, despairing, just not being able to take it anymore, Elijah gives up.
 
Elijah is tired of the confrontation and constant threat to his life.
 
He is tired of having the most powerful political enemies he could have--the corrupt king and queen.
 
Elijah is tired of working for the Lord.
 
So Elijah sits down, afraid and alone, under a solitary broom tree.
 
Elijah then asks the Lord to allow him to die.
 
It is enough; now, O LORD, 
 
take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors." 
 
Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep, hoping to just die.
 
But God was not done with Elijah yet.
 
God sent an angel two times to bring Elijah food in the wilderness under that lonely broom tree.
 
More importantly, the Angel brought Elijah the same message two times.
 
"Get up" Elijah.
 
"Get up and eat".
 
You have more to do.
 
God loves you and needs you.
 
God's people love you and need you to lead them to freedom from the tyranny of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel.
 
God called you to this job, God gave you the authority to do this God, and God will give you the strength to see this job through until the end.
 
Elijah, get up and eat.
 
Get up, restore yourself, and get back to it.
 
Get back on the road.
 
Elijah, you are too legit to quit.
 
*
The thing is, when we are honest with ourselves, all of us in this room know exactly what Elijah was going through.
 
Working a job, working in a ministry like the Daughters of the King, leading a church, studying or teaching at the Iona School, and trying give marriage, family, or friends the time they deserve is hard.
 
It's tiring.
 
And then, if something unexpected happens or something goes wrong -- look out!
 
An unexpected death, or hospital visit, or cuts to health care or social services at city hall that have to be resisted can leave us spent.
 
Conflicts at church. gossip at church, and people questioning our motives can drain us of all of our energy.
 
We get tired.
 
We get exhausted.
 
We start looking for the nearest broom tree to curl up and die under.
 
Ready to quit.
 
Ready to quit this crazy adventure.
 
Ready to quit working for the Lord.
 
But if you ever end up under that broom tree with Elijah, or if you are under that broom tree now, know this.
 
The Lord is not done with you yet.
 
Know this, when you are under that broom tree the Lord will feed you what you need to regain your strength.
 
Take this time now under the tree to eat what the Lord gives you.
 
Know this, when you are under that broom tree, the Lord will give you living waters to quench your thirst.
 
Take this time now under the tree to drink what the Lord gives you.
 
And after the Lord has fed and watered you when you are laid out under that broom tree, know this.
 
The Lord will raise you up.
 
The Lord will set you back on your feet.
 
The Lord will send you out walking to the mountain again.
 
Why get back on you feet?
 
Because the Lord loves you even if you don't love Him right now.
 
Why get back on your feet?
 
Because the Lord needs you, needs you to get up, get up and bring God's love to people so lonesome for God that they do not even remember who God is.
 
Why get back on your feet?
 
Because the Lord needs to you, needs you to get up, get up and breath new life, energy and passion into this this tired and afraid Church of ours.
 
Why get back on your feet?
 
Because the Lord needs you, needs you to get up, get up and stand up with the poor, the sick, the migrant, and the oppressed who know what it means to depend on God alone.
 
You are training for this.
 
You are called by God for this.
 
You have been born for this.
 
God need you.
 
God's church needs you.
 
God's world needs you.
 
And you --each and every one of you--are too legit, too legit to quit.
 
Amen.

 

 
 
 
Too Legit to Quit  Official Video   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFCv86Olk8E 
Psy and MC Hammer at AMA Awards  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efQUSgJTMZc 

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