Date: 03 Jan 2000
Time: 17:31:50

Comment

It is only by truly listening to God that we hear what God wants and asks of us. Too often even in our prayer we decide what God is going to say or do and our prayer tries to force God's hand or make a decision for Him. If in our prayer we listen and open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit God will speak to us. But we must quiet ourselves and must allow true prayer to happen in our lives. H in Iowa


Date: 03 Jan 2000
Time: 22:10:28

Comment

Here I Am, Lord is 593 in the United Methodist Hymnal. Its refrain says Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.

It seems to me this was the answer to God's call by Moses and many other ancient prophets and by Martin Luther King jr. and others in our day. Manzel


Date: 04 Jan 2000
Time: 14:33:29

Comment

"The boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. . . . Now Samuel did not know the Lord, and the word of God had not yet been revealed to him."

Very interesting. Samuel was just a young fellow, yet he was already ministering, even though he didn't yet have any startling revelation or much experience--so niaive that Eli had to interpret the meaning of the voice.

This says something positive about youth, and about going ahead in ministering even if you don't have all the "merit badges" yet.

Jay in AL


Date: 06 Jan 2000
Time: 19:46:28

Comment

Samuel was ministering because he was doing as his mother, Hanna had promised. Yet, it is true this is an example of youth being open to spirituality.


Date: 06 Jan 2000
Time: 19:52:39

Comment

I know a few things about the ark and its beginning with Moses. I have not usually placed too much importance on it but this passage does seem to equate the ark with the presence of God. Wish I knew more about the J and P traditions. Does one of those traditions put more emphasis on the ark? Also is one of those traditions more inclined to percieve wars as holy wars? Insight on this would be very helpful thanks.


Date: 10 Jan 2000
Time: 14:39:27

Comment

I was a guest priest at our Diocesan (Anglican) summer camp last summer (and oh, how long ago that now seems...). This was the reading for focus that day. The chaplain had a number of campers (most of them about 10 years old) act out this story, and then had the rest of the children talk among themselves about it. She then asked them about their thoughts and impressions. The kids pretty much universally thought that it was "cool" that God talked directly to a young person, and particualrly that God chose a young person to speak the word of God. This was especially so since, given the choice of speaking to a young person or a well-respected and faithful priest, one would think that God would go with the priest. I don't know whether this is true in other churches, although I suspect that it is, but young people really don't seem to matter all that much in our congregations. We give lip service to youth ministry, and if our churches are to survive, we all acknowledge that we need some young people around. But how often are those young people actually listened to? How often do we include them in major church decisions? How often do we take their lack of interest in what we do on Sunday mornings to be final, instead of perhaps a prophetic word that what we're doing might need to be changed? "out of the mouths of babes..." is a commonly heard refrain when we relate cute stories about our children's talks on Sunday with the little ones. But we're less interested, often, in what the teenager in baggy jeans and a sweatshirt several sizes too big and the baseball cap (gasp! not in church?!?) has to say. It's too bad. I suspect they have quite a lot. It took Samuel a long time to recognize that the voice he was hearing belonged to God. He couldn't believe that God would want to talk to him. In fact, it took an adult he respected and who respected him to tell him to listen, that it was God's voice. How often to we miss the chance to tell our young people that God is interested in them, that God does care about them, and even more, that God does believe in them and that they do have a ministry. "Youth ministry" isn't just about youth groups or what we, the older church, do to and for the young people in our churches. It's about the ministry those young people provide for us. Often, as was the case with Samuel and Eli, we don't really want to hear the message young people bring us. But if we can, like Eli, recognize that that message is of God, we will do much better in the long run.

Just some ramblings... Heather


Date: 10 Jan 2000
Time: 15:09:38

Comment

I find it interesting that Samuel answers "here I am" to Eli, but uses the words that Eli tells him to use with Yahweh. When did Samuel realize that it was Yahweh calling as a opposed to Eli. I know the answer seems obvious, but I'm not sure whether it was at this point that he accepted Yahweh's direct conversation with him, and not continuing to allow Eli to interpret for him. I will be reflecting on this during the week. Do any of use this day herar directly from God, or is it through others we revere? Is the older genreation stymying the younger's one's messages from God? Are we too critical of their lifestyle? Or are we being to easy on them as Eli is told he was by Yahweh through Samuel? Howard Thurman and Mahatma Gandhi were the inspirations for Martin Luther King's Philosophy of Nonviolence. Who is the inspiration for our ministries? So many questions?

Shalom

Pasthersyl


Date: 11 Jan 2000
Time: 03:43:13

Comment

I've been thinking about how much Samuel acheived in his lifetime, as God's servant. Somthing I read said that he was an agent of change, both fro religion adn politics (KIngly rule). It raised questions fro me about who are our change agents? Is GOd a God who wants us to change? Does God change? Here is an example of God speaking to and using a young person, who did not even know GOd very well. How amazing. Woudl our church listen to our youth in such a way?

Robyn in Australia


Date: 12 Jan 2000
Time: 18:06:06

Comment

I see this passage as a critique of hereditary privilege and power. It is an etiological legend of why and how Samuel became a charismatic leader. Written by the Elohist in the 800's BCE (during the monarchy); written about the pre-monarchy time, 1100's BCE, the passage is a comment on that monarchy's centralization of power. Trusting Yahweh, says the Elohist, means that you decentralize power; means that we trust our own relationship with God and take initiative toward God's work in the world based on that relationship. DT in Philly


Date: 12 Jan 2000
Time: 23:30:49

Comment

Some background -- since Dec. 26th I have had three memorial services/funerals ... one for a full-term, very anticipated baby ... one for a 22 yr. old in an auto accident ... and a third yesterday for an 8 day old, very ill child. So -- as I exegete the congregation as well as the text, these words cry out: v. 1 - "The word of the Lord was rare in those days...visions were not widespread" and v. 3 "The lamp of God had not yet gone out" ... I think the hope for these wounded people lies in v. 3 ... joining the Epiphany's magi -- daring to journey through the darkness, and however dim the light -- trust that "it has not yet gone out" and follow it. Perhaps a mix of imagery more than pure exegesis, but -- certainly words of hope to folks who need it. Thoughts? - meredith in va


Date: 13 Jan 2000
Time: 04:33:09

Comment

Meredith, just read your comment. My prayers are with you after the experience of dealing with all that grief for the young--who represent our hopes and dreams. glad in IL


Date: 13 Jan 2000
Time: 21:40:37

Comment

Thanks, glad! meredith


Date: 13 Jan 2000
Time: 23:18:18

Comment

Meredith...I too am keeping you lifted up in prayer. I have had the opposite. 4 funerals in 2 weeks of vernerable saints of my church. IT has made this a difficult season. LG in Mystic


Date: 14 Jan 2000
Time: 14:24:07

Comment

To Meredith, LG in Mystic, & all others overwhelmed by grief. My Prayers are with you as I write. Having lost family members around Christmas, and gone through holiday seasons such as you have had, I know the struggles. We cannot help but see that the world is not as God intended. But this is the reason, the brokenness and pain, why God sent his son. We need that baby, that 12 year old in the temple, the one who died on a cross - was buried - and raised to new life. And people who are grieved need to hear words of hope. May the spirit grant you such words. mehrke in SD


Date: 15 Jan 2000
Time: 16:45:07

Comment

Meredith, Just read how difficult the last several weeks have been for your congregation and you. You both are in my prayers. Sounds like your sermon will be very powerful this Sunday. One thing I've learned after 21 years in the ministry is that the folks who best express hope are the ones who need hope the most. I've always been amazed that liberation theologies--black, feminist, womanist, developing nations, hispanic--are so hopeful. In contrast, so many white, male, European theologies have little expression of hope. In short, sometimes it is those who "have not" who best practice HOPE in dark times. Perhaps the reason for this is that without hope we die. We give up. Black spirituals full of hope and promise for the future, the base communities in Nicargua organizing their community lives based on the gospel, and even U.S theologians like Letty Russell talking about the "already but the not yet", express powerful images of hope when life is at its darkest.


Date: 15 Jan 2000
Time: 16:52:19

Comment

Meredith, I messed up! Let me finish my thought. No matter what happens to me, no matter how dark the night, I find comfort in God's presence and God's will for love to prevail. That doesn't mean bad things won't happen to us, as you know, it does mean that God suffers with us when we suffer and that God works for love to prevail in the midst of our suffering. My task is to look for God's presence in the midst of my suffering and to take strength from God's presence so that I might work to make something good come out of the pain and despair. The best example I can give of this will and hope that can make something good come out of despair is the mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver who went on to start MADD so that other parents would not suffer what she suffered. The result? Our cultural attitudes about drunk driving have changed and deaths have decreased. What a sign of hope in the midst of despair! Peace to you and your congregation, Diana in Missouri


Date: 15 Jan 2000
Time: 16:52:40

Comment

Meredith, I messed up! Let me finish my thought. No matter what happens to me, no matter how dark the night, I find comfort in God's presence and God's will for love to prevail. That doesn't mean bad things won't happen to us, as you know, it does mean that God suffers with us when we suffer and that God works for love to prevail in the midst of our suffering. My task is to look for God's presence in the midst of my suffering and to take strength from God's presence so that I might work to make something good come out of the pain and despair. The best example I can give of this will and hope that can make something good come out of despair is the mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver who went on to start MADD so that other parents would not suffer what she suffered. The result? Our cultural attitudes about drunk driving have changed and deaths have decreased. What a sign of hope in the midst of despair! Peace to you and your congregation, Diana in Missouri


Date: 15 Jan 2000
Time: 19:49:02

Comment

There are times when we enter into the heavy stuff of ministry, and that is exactly when I find out that God has been present with me and these families all along. If you do not have any thing to preach to hurting ones then we do not have anything to preach at all.

A good friend of mine just lost her 25 year old daughter to a rare and rapid disease. On the drive home from the hospital the mother was hit by a drunk driver Have not heard how she is though.

I think this ties into the theme of calling because we may assume that we have plenty of time to wrestle with God's claim on our lives and we may not!

For comic relief I like to remind people that God called Samuel while he was "asleep in the sanctuary."

A W-G rocky coast Me.


Date: 15 Jan 2000
Time: 23:24:21

Comment

Eli gives many lessons in this passage, not simply how to respond to God's voice (as a servant). He demonstrates the willingness to believe God could be speaking directly to a younger generation. This is a very hard lesson for leaders like us to practice. We don't have ALL the right answers.

pHil


Date: 16 Jan 2000
Time: 15:16:18

Comment

Diana and others -- I don't check this site from Fri to Sun -- so, hope you all get a chance to check this one more time before moving onto the next texts -- in that you will know how deeply I appreciate your encouraging words! And, yes Diana, Letty has been one of my inspirations of hope as well. Thanks to all! --mere'