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We Know What's Coming


2 Pentecost, Proper 4B




2 June 2024

 

I bet we have all had the experience of watching something on TV unfold and know exactly what will happen, meanwhile wondering why the characters don’t seem to have a clue.  Sit coms are based on that premise of anticipating the next move and rarely is the script changed to surprise us. We live in suspense, waiting for the expected, like listening for the thunder after we see the lightning. 

I keep asking myself why both Eli and Samuel are so dense.  Why does it take them so long to figure out it is God who is calling? But as the saying goes, look in the mirror and you will find the answer.  I can be dense; you can be dense.  We are all called in some way; the problem is seeing what is right in front of us.

With Samuel, God took someone who was lowly, not of a priestly family, and charged him with some of the most onerous work in all of the history of Israel.  God did not promise Samuel wealth or children or power, he just told Samuel he would be with him.  And Samuel was a very young child.  Think of yourself at six or eight years of age being visited by God and given a charge by God. God works through all of us; we just need to listen.  I know, though, that over the ages false prophets have arisen and people were led to follow them.  What should our litmus test be?  If the person speaking is not expressing God’s desire for love, justice, and mercy, then that is not a person speaking from God.

But it remains clear that God speaks to all of us and that we are all called in our own ways.  Even as Eli failed to be a good leader, he accepted the words that Samuel spoke. Eli must have known he had not done the right thing; his leadership was inept and his family corrupt.  But God did not bring in a mighty army, nor even another grown person.  He brought in Samuel. God can and will work through you.  Just listen! It is always the nature of God to choose what seems to be the least likely to do the most good.

If you think of yourself as “least likely to succeed”, think again. You have talents and they are meant to be used and used with no expectation of material gain, but rather that you are doing that which pleases God.

And it can rile your sleep.  Accepting Jesus can bring you peace, the peace that passes understanding, but it does not bring you sleep.  My advice, if you want a good night’s sleep, is to bypass Christianity altogether. Jesus tends to get under your skin and into your dreams.  Today he does it by questioning the meaning of the Sabbath. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Hershel wrote of the Sabbath that “the Sabbaths are our great cathedrals."  He viewed God as one of time and eternity, not space nor place.  Sabbath is where we find true rest and true peace.   Jesus says the Sabbath was made for humans.  Think on that for a moment. We were not made to be slaves to a day of the week, but rather invited into a time of true rest. When I use Sabbath time as time to get done what I couldn’t manage the rest of the week, I dishonor God.  It becomes a time vacuum, sucking up life. Sabbath time is for all of us.  Every human being, and even our work animals, need time for rest.  It is a great gift from God which we should all honor.

This is also the entry time into summer. As fewer and fewer people are tied directly to working on the land, we tend to lose touch with the rhythms of the seasons and those in agriculture know very well. It was the tradition of churches in England to honor rogation days, five weeks after Easter.  Rogation means to ask, and it was a time to ask blessings on the crops and everything else in the parish.  Now it would be difficult to walk the bounds of this parish, but the idea that we should ask God’s blessing on the land is not one to be dismissed.  So today, while it is a bit late in the traditional sense, we will ask God’s blessing on the land, its people, and the crops we produce. It is all fitting with the premise that God works through all of us, from the so called least to the so called greatest, and that we are all here to be servants of God and at the same time beneficiaries of all good things.2 Pentecost, Proper 4B

2 June 2024

 

I bet we have all had the experience of watching something on TV unfold and know exactly what will happen, meanwhile wondering why the characters don’t seem to have a clue.  Sit coms are based on that premise of anticipating the next move and rarely is the script changed to surprise us. We live in suspense, waiting for the expected, like listening for the thunder after we see the lightning. 

I keep asking myself why both Eli and Samuel are so dense.  Why does it take them so long to figure out it is God who is calling? But as the saying goes, look in the mirror and you will find the answer.  I can be dense; you can be dense.  We are all called in some way; the problem is seeing what is right in front of us.

With Samuel, God took someone who was lowly, not of a priestly family, and charged him with some of the most onerous work in all of the history of Israel.  God did not promise Samuel wealth or children or power, he just told Samuel he would be with him.  And Samuel was a very young child.  Think of yourself at six or eight years of age being visited by God and given a charge by God. God works through all of us; we just need to listen.  I know, though, that over the ages false prophets have arisen and people were led to follow them.  What should our litmus test be?  If the person speaking is not expressing God’s desire for love, justice, and mercy, then that is not a person speaking from God.

But it remains clear that God speaks to all of us and that we are all called in our own ways.  Even as Eli failed to be a good leader, he accepted the words that Samuel spoke. Eli must have known he had not done the right thing; his leadership was inept and his family corrupt.  But God did not bring in a mighty army, nor even another grown person.  He brought in Samuel. God can and will work through you.  Just listen! It is always the nature of God to choose what seems to be the least likely to do the most good.

If you think of yourself as “least likely to succeed”, think again. You have talents and they are meant to be used and used with no expectation of material gain, but rather that you are doing that which pleases God.

And it can rile your sleep.  Accepting Jesus can bring you peace, the peace that passes understanding, but it does not bring you sleep.  My advice, if you want a good night’s sleep, is to bypass Christianity altogether. Jesus tends to get under your skin and into your dreams.  Today he does it by questioning the meaning of the Sabbath. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Hershel wrote of the Sabbath that “the Sabbaths are our great cathedrals."  He viewed God as one of time and eternity, not space nor place.  Sabbath is where we find true rest and true peace.   Jesus says the Sabbath was made for humans.  Think on that for a moment. We were not made to be slaves to a day of the week, but rather invited into a time of true rest. When I use Sabbath time as time to get done what I couldn’t manage the rest of the week, I dishonor God.  It becomes a time vacuum, sucking up life. Sabbath time is for all of us.  Every human being, and even our work animals, need time for rest.  It is a great gift from God which we should all honor.

This is also the entry time into summer. As fewer and fewer people are tied directly to working on the land, we tend to lose touch with the rhythms of the seasons and those in agriculture know very well. It was the tradition of churches in England to honor rogation days, five weeks after Easter.  Rogation means to ask, and it was a time to ask blessings on the crops and everything else in the parish.  Now it would be difficult to walk the bounds of this parish, but the idea that we should ask God’s blessing on the land is not one to be dismissed.  So today, while it is a bit late in the traditional sense, we will ask God’s blessing on the land, its people, and the crops we produce. It is all fitting with the premise that God works through all of us, from the so called least to the so called greatest, and that we are all here to be servants of God and at the same time beneficiaries of all good things.

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