Sunday, January 17, 2021

Samuel as an Example of Listening and Feeling

I 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.


Today we read my most favorite Old Testament reading and story.  It contains within it my personal prayer mantra “Speak Lord for your Servant is Listening.”  Currently my personal use of this mantra comes weekly after receiving communion (even metaphorically now).  I kneel and silently speak these words, then I listen. Sometimes there is nothing, sometimes there are words, and sometimes there are simply bodily sensations.  Years ago, before I found this mantra, I used to just listen and sometimes I would be given messages, not just for myself but for others. Sometimes on sharing these messages tears flow. Much like Samuel I try not to hide anything.  I also cannot ask on behalf of anyone, this is God lead and hard.

I see this weekly experience as one of my experiences of mantra, meditation, and kirtan. Mantra is a repeated statement as a meditation or prayer.  Some people use prayer beads when doing this.  Some put it to music, or Kirtan which could also be a hymn. And some just listen or feel which is mediation.  Samuel was a seer, priest, judge, prophet, and military leader.  I don’t see myself as any of those, but more of a follower of his example to listen and feel God’s presence all around me.




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