January 17, 2020 Worship Rev Sunny Kim
Call to Worship .
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God. God’s love was revealed among us when Jesus came into the world. Since God loved us so much, we are called to love one another. Come, let us worship and love with all our hearts.
Eternal God, radiant with grace, thaw our fears and snow-bound spirits; make us shine with your Word, our hope; shine with your communion, our life; shine with your peace, our joy; through Christ, who is our light. Amen.
1 Samuel 3:1-10
Samuel’s Calling and Prophetic Activity
3 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.
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!”[a] 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 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. 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.”
Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 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.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you,[a] you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”
Discerning Our Calls
Every beginning of the New Year, we learn about the stories of the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, the stories of his baptism and calling of first disciples. I remember my beginning too. Remembering my beginning can snap me out of my complacency and spiritual laziness. It is like a New Year’s resolution for us as Christians meditating on the stories of Jesus’ beginning. According to my experience, we don’t only have one call from God. God had different purposes for me as a pastor wherever I was sent. Discerning our calls can be a tricky business because spiritual matters are not visibly clear. It can take a long time and a lot of prayers and meditation. Just look at the boy Samuel, who was the last judge of Israel and the person who anointed the first king of Israel.
His mother Hannah was barren and prayed most earnestly. God gave her a son and she dedicated her son Samuel to God. While young Samuel was living with Eli the priest, he heard God’s call. First, he didn’t know it was God; he thought it was Eli. After several times the boy ran to Eli, Eli realized that God was calling the boy. He said to the boy, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” He didn’t know God was calling him because he was young and had never talked to God before. But this boy would grow up to be the judge of Israel. Israel had judges instead of kings because God was supposed to be their king. But because the people of Israel cried out to give them a visible king like other nations, God chose Saul as the first king and had Samuel anoint him. He also anointed King David when Saul turned out to be a huge disappointment to God. But that is a story for another time.
The Bible is full of people who were called by God, and now we go to some people who had been earnestly waiting and looking for God’s Chosen One when they met Jesus. What we learn from the story of Jesus calling his first disciples is that God chooses us, but we have to be searching and waiting for the Divine to be able to recognize the Divine. We have to be in a particular state of mind with our desire to connect with the Divine. Then we can hear God say to us, “Come and see,” and that would be enough for us to understand.
We are the church in a particular geographical area and living through particular historical events, which means God might have a different call for us than the churches in other areas or times in history. There are universal challenges that the Christian Church is facing today, but also, there are specific challenges that we as a congregation in Sicamous face. We may not know for which purpose God calls us and the call can change over time too. Therefore, today and this week, and in the weeks and months to come, I invite you to join me in prayers for discernment. God will find us and give us missions, but we should be vigilant and willing to wait, seek, and listen. Therefore, let us remember the first time we believed and met with the Divine, and pray together that God will show us our purpose; our call. Let us be equipped with an open spirit and pursuit of God’s wisdom especially because we are living through times of uncertainty and fear. May God be with us and guide us!
Let us pray…
God, who created and knows us, we are your children and have accepted our relationship with you. You called us to be persons and community of faith, and entrusted your people and all creation in our care. Let us welcome you into our quiet space and time to meet with you and have fellowship with you. In our quiet fellowship with you, help us to understand your will and our call for your kingdom. Fill us with the confidence of your love and your power to transform and mold us into faithful members of your family. Call us and send us into the world full of hurt and let us be the agents of your healing love.
During this prolonged pandemic, use our services to take care of the marginalized whose suffering has become worse. Send us to bring your love and healing. Especially help and guide us in our endeavour to help the homeless in our town. Guide us towards the direction you intend, and bring our residents, churches, and city council together in this work. We also pray for those who are suffering worldwide, on every dark corner of the earth where your people suffer and are in need. Take care of our church members and their needs so we can dedicate in our mission to bring your kingdom in our communities.
With these prayers of our hearts, may God bless you and keep you. May God’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May God look upon you with kindness and give you peace. Amen.