January 14, 2018

1 Samuel 3:1-20
Psalm 139
John 1:43-51

“Rare Words from God”

“The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.” That was part of the introduction to the story about the prophet Samuel… Samuel as a young boy, when he first began to listen for God’s voice and share God’s words with the people and their leaders.

I wonder if people might say something similar about the days in which we live now. I wonder if you would say that it is rare to hear God’s word today, that there are many, many words and messages being proclaimed in print, on TV, through the internet and social media, but that hearing God’s word in the midst of all of those other words is rare, indeed.

The story of Samuel’s calling serves as a reminder for us that God does indeed speak. Even when we have begun to think that messages from God are rare or even impossible, God continues to call. The question is whether we are listening and able to recognize God’s voice.

When Samuel figures out (with Eli’s help) that it may be God who is speaking to him in the quiet of the night, and he says, “Speak, Lord, … Read more »

January 18, 2015

1 Samuel 3:1-10
Psalm 139:1-18
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
John 1:43-51

“Vocation”

The most recent issue of the WMS magazine, “Glad Tidings” is focussed on the theme of vocation. When I asked one group earlier this week what “vocation” means, someone said, “It’s what you do.” And more specifically than that, it’s what you are called to do. The word, “vocation” comes from the Latin “vocare” meaning “to call,” and our scripture readings this morning and next week also, are filled with stories of people being called by God to various ministries.

Although people who become ministers like me, and maybe even people who become Christian educators like Martha and the others we commissioned this morning, quickly get used to the idea that we are called to a particular ministry in the church. Sometimes we can recall times when people noticed our gifts or our potential for a certain ministry, and even if we didn’t hear God’s voice calling to us directly like Samuel did… we certainly heard it through the voices of others in the Christian community.

One of the things that was very interesting about the last issue of “Glad Tidings” was that it wasn’t a bunch of stories about ministers or missionaries being … Read more »

January 15, 2012

1 Samuel 3:1-10
Psalm 139:1-18
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
John 1:43-51

The following sermon is posted with thanks to Kathryn Matthews Huey, whose reflections on Psalm 139 (from the website of the United Church of Christ) provided significant inspiration, and from whom I borrowed several paragraphs.

There is an obvious connection between the Old Testament and Gospel readings this morning. They are “call narratives” – stories about people who received a call from God. In First Samuel 3, a little boy is called to become “a trustworthy prophet of the Lord,” and John’s Gospel tells the story of Philip and Nathanael leaving everything behind to follow Jesus when they realize that he is the one “about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote.”

Many of us here today (perhaps all of us) have also been called by God. We probably weren’t wakened by God’s voice calling out our name in the middle of the night, and we didn’t have Jesus literally walk up to us and say, “Come and follow me.” But we have heard God’s call in the words of the Bible, through the voices of preachers and teachers, or as an urgent sense of needing to get out of our own concerns … Read more »