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Fourth Time's the Charm

The season of Epiphany invites us to pause and reflect on God’s “manifestation to his people.” First and foremost, on Jan. 6, we hear the story of the wise men being led by a star to worship Emanuel (God with us). Today, on Jan. 7, we have the opportunity to encounter an Old Testament story of God reaching out to open the eyes of another of His children. It’s the story of the boy, Samuel, who was ministering to the Lord under Eli.

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.”
1 Samuel 3:2-10, NRSV
My takeaway from this story is this: God did not give up on Samuel, He kept calling. Maybe the God of All is calling you in some way today. The question is, are you listening? What would today be like if you set the timer on your phone or watch to ring once every hour? And then, every time it buzzed, what if you stopped for just 60 seconds and said either silently or aloud, “Speak, for your servant is listening?” (This might not work for your location or schedule, but what could work for you as a way to pause in moments during the day to offer yourself to Him?) Maybe God is calling you, but you’ve been too much of a rush to stop and listen. How can you pause to listen today?
Dear Lord,
Open my heart and my mind to hear you today.
Speak, for your servant is listening.
The Rev. Robert E. Wareing
Pastoral Associate
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