Good morning all. I hope that you have somewhere to cuddle in this stormy morning.
1 Samuel 3:1-11 (NRSV)
3 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of theLord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.
2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; 3 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.4 Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” 5 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. 6 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.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8 The Lordcalled 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. 9 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.
10 Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 11 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.
Nothing about yesterday lined up like I thought it would. Everything in the morning took a little bit longer than I thought it might. The afternoon was good as I hung out with a friend and drank lots of coffee. But in the middle of hanging out, Jeff said, “There was just an alert in Paris.Look!” Jeff has an alert system on his phone. But that was when the news was early. Things were just starting to happen. As we went from coffee shop to coffee shop (we sometimes go to a few we have never been to before) the news got worse. More and more people were reported hostage or injured or worse. By the time I got home, I was a bit of a mess.
The evening definitely did not go as planned for so many reasons. And then in the middle of the night when I just couldn’t sleep and opened my phone as a last resort to do something mindless I read about Beirut and Baghdad. Heartbroken, I turned back on the tv to look for something hopeful or funny or something to ease the shock just a bit.
Of course, the more I couldn’t sleep, the more I dwelled on other things in my life that just aren’t going the way I planned. We all have those things to dwell on and those places that we just hold on to in the midst of grief and strife. The family stuff, that fight we had, that transition or that moment you wish you could have said that, the work to be done that keeps you up every once in a while, and back to heartbreak in the world.
And we should be heartbroken about the world right now and we should pay attention and not get numb to human beings around the world and yet…how do we hold of that? This was not the day that I had planned out. What the heck happened? And the middle of the night is ripe for that tossing and turning.
Samuel is woken up by something not according to his plan. He has no idea what is happening and doesn’t even know at first that it is God stirring him, calling him out of sleep to pay attention and to be called in a different direction. He will eventually respond but he has to get over the shock of God completely upsetting Samuel’s life. His world will never be the same and he now will have to hold all of it in the middle of the night.
God stirs in each of us. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can as Martin Luther King Jr. famously said. That stirring in us in the middle of the night is that stirring. We can’t just sit by and forget all those places where terror reigns…it can’t. God won’t let us sleep through it all. God will call our attention to those places and then match where our deep longing and the world deep hunger meet. I am desperately hoping for it and I will respond, “Here I am, send me!”