Reading at Mandela Funeral: Elijah's Ascent to Heaven

The reading from Scripture chosen for Nelson Mandela’s funeral was the story of the Prophet Elijah’s ascent to heaven in a chariot of fire after passing on the mantle of leadership (2 Kings 2). The example was a curious one, not only because Mandela never likened himself to a prophet, but also because Elijah and those that followed him ultimately failed in their mission to save the Kingdom of Israel. (The Kingdom of Judah lasted longer.)