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Sent out

Daily reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 Sunday, October 22, 2017
God sends Samuel to Bethlehem, a village not far from the high rock of the Jebusites, later named Jerusalem, but quite a distance from Gilgal and Gibeah, places associated with King Saul.

By this time, it is no secret that Samuel is in conflict with Saul, even those in the small towns have heard and so when the city elders see Samuel approaching, they begin to get nervous and wonder if they will get mixed up in the mess and power play.  Anxiously they ask, “do you come in peace?”  Samuel assures them that he has and is only there to perform a sacrifice.

The elders, as well as Jesse and his sons, are to be made holy so they can attend the sacrifice.  It is there that Samuel sees Eliab, whose names means ‘my God is father’, the oldest of Jesse’s sons. 

Samuel is sure that he is one God has sent him for, but if we have been paying attention to the patterns set up in the narrative, we know it isn’t going to be that simple.  Israel’s sto…

Claiming our calling

Daily reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-21 Thursday, October 19, 2017

What would our lives look like if we scheduled in time daily to be present with God?  To take time to read scripture, to spend time in prayer, to spend time listening?  Because we believe deeply that we have been called to live a faithful life and that is worthy of our time and energy? What would our lives look like if we scheduled time to practice non judgmental listening with a family member for 15 minutes a day? Or schedule coffee with a friend where you listen from a place of deep wonder rather than entering the conversation knowing what you are going to share and anticipating their response? What would our lives look like if we took the time to seek out someone who is radically different than ourselves so that we can hear their story and hold it as something sacred? What would our lives look like if we left our preconceived notions and judgments at the door so that our God who is still speaking can be a part of our ongoing conve…

Making time for God

Daily reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-21 Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Rather than squeezing God between appointments, only really having enough time to have a one way conversation with us doing all the speaking to God, we need to take the time to listen, to bear through the difficult silence, to quiet the noise in our own heads, so that we can hear that we all are called.  Our children are called to be children, to be brothers and sisters, to be grandchildren, nieces and nephews.   We are called in our daily work, we are called to be family members, to be students, to be neighbors, partners or spouses.  We are called to be friends, to be colleagues, to be citizens of God’s kingdom.  We are called to be the embodiment of God’s Spiritual fruits. 

Prayer: God, you call us out of our barrenness into places of abundance.  Help me today to embody your call so that I can be focused on your presence and a faithful witness to your abundant love in my life.  Amen.

Silence

Daily reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-21 Tuesday, October 17, 2017
In the silence Samuel hears, but at first thinks it is Eli, calling for him. In the silence we learn to listen but it is hard to find silence since we often have constant noise around us.  One of the central questions of this text is whether or not we want to be called.  Whether or not we want God’s guidance in our living, or do we want to forge a way forward on our own? Like in the story of Jacob and the stairway dream he had, Samuel hears God because he has slowed down and is listening. Fred Craddock once said, “that the voice of God in Jesus was not a shout.  In him, the revelation of God comes to us as a whisper.  In order to catch it, we must hush, lean forward, and trust that what we hear is the voice of God.” I wonder how often we miss the voice of God, as the voice of someone else, not so much intentionally but because we either have not learned to listen, or because we are too busy to listen and so we find another outlet to f…

Called in the middle of the night

Daily reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-21 Monday, October 16, 2017
When Samuel hears his name being called in the middle of the night, he assumes it has to be his aging mentor, Eli, who is calling him.  And what ensues is the stuff children’s Sunday school curriculum is made of.  You have repetition, you have counting, you have mystery, and you have a message for the children, you have easily memorized or repeated lines. It’s perfect. The story is fascinating and memorable, it is all quiet in the house there is a young Samuel lying down sleeping, who hears a voice, gets up and runs to Eli and says “I’m here.  You called me, ?” “I didn’t call, my son, go and lie down.” Samuel returns, falls asleep, a second time is woken by a voice, gets up and runs to Eli and says “I’m here.  You called me?” “I didn’t call, my son, go and lie down.” Samuel returns, falls asleep, a third time is woken by a voice, gets up and runs to Eli and says “I’m here.  You called me?” Eli now realizes that God must be calling him…

Barrenness

Daily reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-21 Sunday, October 15, 2017
Out of a barren situation, we find God working in Hannah, the mother of Samuel.  It begins in the first chapter of 1 Samuel where Hannah weeping and fasting and praying because she is barren. In a remarkable way she is able to rise above the barren situation she found herself in. There is a barrenness of understanding when the priest Eli supposes Hannah to be drunk when she is praying to God.  There is, if you will, a barrenness of faithfulness in the story when we look at the priest Eli and his sons.  In the midst of heart break and sorrow, in a place where she is not understood by her family or even by the priest Eli, God hears and God responds.  Her interaction with Eli is a microcosm of what is happening in Israel, where there is barrenness of faithfulness and barrenness of hearing the voice of God.    Into this barrenness Hannah prays, “remember me God.  Re-member me.  Put me back together God.  Re-member my disjointed family Go…

Provision

Read: Exodus 16:1-18 Friday, October 13, 2017
God responds to their complaining by giving them what they need, quail and manna. For 40 years, God provides.  Now what we don’t know is if the quail and manna were already there before they starting mumbling, but out of their fear and lack of faithfulness they were unable to see it, in the same way that when we are panicked and looking for something that we have misplaced we are unable to see that it is right in front of us.  Maybe, just maybe, since it is not what they expected and they were fully enmeshed in scarcity thinking that they could not see the divine abundance all around.   
We like the wandering Hebrews, mirror their fears when we look at what was and compare it what is and expect life to be like it was.  We begin to doubt that the God who created the universe is able to meet our needs. God responds to their complaints and takes this opportunity to further mold and shape the people.   God gives them instructions that will help t…