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1 Samuel 3:1-20
Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. The word of the LORD was
rare in those days; visions were not widespread. At that time Eli, whose eyesight had
begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God
had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the
ark of God was. Then the LORD called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!”and
ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down
again.” So he went and lay down. The LORD called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and
went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son;
lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had
not yet been revealed to him. The LORD called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up
and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that
the LORD was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls
you, you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay
down in his place. Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel!
Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
Then the LORD said to Samuel, “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make
both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle. On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I
have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I am
about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were
blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that
the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering forever.” Samuel
lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. Samuel was
afraid to tell the vision to Eli. But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” He said,
“Here I am.” Eli said, “What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me. May God
do so to you and more also, if you hide anything from me of all that he told you.” So
Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. Then he said, “It is the LORD; let
him do what seems good to him.”
As Samuel grew up, the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the
ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy
prophet of the LORD.

Gospel of John 1:43-51
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow
me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found
Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also
the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can
anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus
saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom
there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus
answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied,
“Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you
believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things
than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and
the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

God speaks to us in many ways,
if we are listening.

God spoke to the Wise Men through their astrological skills
which led them to the Holy Child.

God also spoke to those same Wise Men through their
intuition after listening to King Herod’s desire to know the
location of the child born to be king.

God spoke empowering words to Jesus at his baptism: “You
are my Son, the Beloved, with you I am well pleased.”

This morning we read of God’s initial call to Samuel.

God spoke to the young boy, calling out to him in the night;
calling Samuel to listen to God’s plans for his life.

The name Samuel is “from the Hebrew name שְׁמוּאֵל
(Shemu'el) which could mean ‘name of God’, (‘asked of God’)
or ‘God has heard’.

As told in the Books of Samuel in the Hebrew Scriptures
Christians call the Old Testament, Samuel was the last of
Israel’s ruling judges.

Samuel is also recognized as a prophet.
He led the Israelites during a period of domination by the
Philistines, who were ultimately defeated in battle at
Mizpah.

Later Samuel anointed Saul to be the first king of Israel, and
even later anointed his successor David.
(Behind the Name website https://www.behindthename.com/name/samuel)

The Gospel reading for this morning is Jesus calling Philip
and Nathanial to be two of his disciples.

What is of paramount importance for us
to acknowledge in all of these stories,
is that those who heard God calling to them in various ways
and circumstances, responded to God.

They didn’t just hear God speaking; they acted on what they
heard.

As I’ve shared several times before,
there are many voices calling out in our world today.

It will do us well to know that the loudest voices are not
necessarily the voices speaking for God.
While many of us come to church to find peace from the
world’s chaos, silence on contemporary issues will only
destroy the church’s credibility.

Today, I’m reminded of the words of
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “In the End,
we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the
silence of our friends.”

I can no longer keep silent.

I hear the loudest voices and the deafening silence coming
from our nation’s capital. My stomach is sickened.

We hear not a moral compass, but rather, divisive prejudice
and reactive, unrestrained ignorance.

When we hear such things, Christians cannot keep silent nor
complacent.

I’ve mentioned a couple of times before the CBS News series
“On the Road with Steve Hartman.”

At the risk of over using this resource, on Friday evening, Mr.
Hartman presented voices worthy of our attention.

The Rev. Gilbert Caldwell and his wife, Grace, were married
in North Carolina
in 1957.

Grace made reservations for their honeymoon at the Mt. Airy
Resort in the Poconos in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

When they arrived, they were turned away because they are
black.

Effected by that and many more injustices, the Rev. Caldwell
immersed himself in the Civil Rights Movement. In fact, Rev.
Caldwell worked side by side with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Over the years, Rev. Caldwell and his wife, Grace, have
traveled to schools across the country sharing their
honeymoon story and other stories of injustice.

They share the stories with the hope of societal change.

After sharing their story with a class of 5 th graders in
Titusville, New Jersey (not far from where Washington
crossed the Delaware River), there was a startling reaction
from those 5 th graders.

They made comments like, “That’s just terrible,”; and “It was
really heartbreaking”. Another student said: “I feel like this is
the worst thing that someone could do to someone.”
Those 5 th grade kids couldn’t get that honeymoon story out
of their heads.

The class wrote to the Mt. Airy Resort and told them of the
horrible incident that occurred in 1957. The class asked for
a free second honeymoon for the Caldwells.

The new owners of the Mt. Airy Resort agreed, and gave the
couple a first-class, second honeymoon, where they once
were turned away. They celebrated 60 years of marriage.

One student commented: “It makes me feel really good
inside because we know that even though we’re just kids, we
made an impact on the world.”
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/students-who- took-couples- honeymoon-story- to-heart-
take-action/
Those are voices worth listening to.
I believe they are voices speaking for God.

As Dr. King once shared,”People fail to get along because
they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other;
they don’t know each other because they have not
communicated with each other.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Besides issues of racism, we must also face the injustice of
our current immigration policies.

While the United States needs a comprehensive and just
immigration system, we cannot turn away people who have
nowhere to go and seek refuge. I’m particularly thinking
about the Dreamers, and those seeking refuge from war and
natural disasters.

Joseph, Mary and the child Jesus were refugees in Egypt as
King Herod sought to kill his newborn rival.

God’s Law to the Israelites is clear.

In the Torah, the first 5 books of the Hebrew Scriptures,
there are verses warning the people to treat foreigners with
respect and justice.
Among the scriptures are:
“Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were
foreigners in Egypt.” (Exodus 22:21)

“When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not
mistreat them.”
(Leviticus 19:33)

“Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner,
the fatherless or the widow.” (Deuteronomy 27:19)

And, “Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of
justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge.”
(Deuteronomy 24:17)

I encourage you to listen for the voice of God speaking in
various ways and circumstances all around us.

I encourage you to act in response.

Evil wants control. Evil’s tools are fear and division. We
must resist evil.

As Dr. King once said,
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

We are called to listen and respond to God’s voice, and let
our light shine in love.

I end with one more quote from Dr. King:
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose
infinite hope.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

 
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