Sam and the Troubling, Familiar Voice

SamuelSecond Sunday after Epiphany

1 Samuel 3:1-20

1 Corinthians 6:12-20

John 1:43-51

Samuel receives an unlikely call. He has experiences and responsibilities that are disproportionate to the amount of experience and expertise that he possesses. This is a strange, but inspiring story by many counts.

Our story starts with Sam’s to-be parents- Hannah and Elkanah. They have been trying to have a child for years and years. This is what Hannah desires more than anything else. She has felt the pain of infertile parents throughout history and today. In her grief, she goes to the Temple and prays to God for a son. She makes a bargain with God saying, “If you give me a child, I will let you take the child for your own service. The child will work in the Temple for the rest of their life.” A miracle happens and Hannah has a son, Samuel, whose name means “God hears.” Hannah keeps her promise and the boy spends the rest of his life working in the Temple overseeing sacrifices, cleaning up after sacrifices, offering prayers, and other priestly duties.

Hannah has high hopes for her son. She sings a prayer to God and wishes that the child would share in God’s zeal for justice and care. She sings to the God who “raises up the poor from the dust,” who “guards God’s faithful ones,” and who cuts off the wicked. Continue reading