Thursday, January 4, 2018

Second Sunday after the Epiphany/in Ordinary Time (B), January 14, 2018 - Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18; 1 Samuel 3:1-20 and John 1:43-51

Marc Chagall:
Le jeune Samuel, 

serviteur du sacrificateur 

Eli et couchant dans la chambre 

de son maître, s'entend appeler par Dieu 

 (Be sure to page down for the second poem on the Samuel and John texts.)

Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18


Before genetics, I wonder: How did the Psalmist know
About that knitting of our DNA in utero?
Before geology, how did this ancient, faithful seer
Know we are literally dust from earth, to God endeared?
The writer says we're fearfully and wonderfully made,
The Maker's thoughts so vast there is no way they might be weighed,
And though they number more than all the grains of all the sand,
It's so astonishing I'm with this LORD still at the end.

Scott L. Barton

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; 
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down, 
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, 
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before, 
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; 
it is so high that I cannot attain it.

For it was you who formed my inward parts; 
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
My frame was not hidden from you, 
when I was being made in secret, 
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. 
In your book were written 
all the days that were formed for me, 
when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! 
How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them—they are more than the sand; 
I come to the end—I am still with you.

+  +  +

1 Samuel 3:1-20 and John 1:43-51

Means of Grace

There's nothing like telling the truth!
So Samuel and Nathanael learned,
They told what they heard,
The meaning, unslurred,
And another truth to them returned.

In Samuel's case, somehow, he knew,
From the voice that kept calling that night,
What old Eli should know -
Though the news was his woe,
And though bad news is rarely polite.

Nathanael had heard, nothing good
From backwater Naz'reth could come,
So he challenged Phil's cry
The Messiah was nigh -
To the latest craze he'd not succumb!

Thus, speaking what they thought down deep,
Despite worry what others might say,
With their clear lack of guile,
Sure the Maker then smiled,
And astonishing things then displayed.

Scott L. Barton

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.

+  +  +

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.”

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