First Thoughts From The Rev. Canon David Smith: 

Most weeks Fr. David sends out an e-mail with his first thoughts on the upcoming Sunday readings. These reflections are designed to encourage people to consider the readings before they come to worship which we hope will enrich Sunday worship. People are invited to respond to David with their own thoughts and sometimes interesting ideas and conversations occur that end up in the sermon. If you would like to receive these weekly e-mails e-mail David at  . 

Reflections on 1 Samuel 3: 1- 20 , Psalm 139: 1-6, 13-18, 1Corinthians 6: 12 -20, John 1: 43- 51

Posted by Emily Sanderson on Saturday, January 17, 2015
Hi again everyone,

Readings: 1 Samuel 3: 1- 20 , Psalm 139: 1-6, 13-18, 1Corinthians 6: 12 -20,
John 1: 43- 51   for readings electronically link to

Thanks to "Feasting on the Word" Year B Volume 1 pgs 242- 265

This Sunday we read the great and familiar story of God calling Samuel in the temple. I have always felt more like Samuel , young and new in ministry and ready for a new thing. But when I met with my new United Church colleague right out of seminary and only a year older than my daughter, I started to feel a bit more like Eli long at the tooth  with diminishing eyesight.  Sometimes like Eli I can feel like I am working in the Temple but not hearing God's word. Perhaps there are times when we all feel a bit like that. But the good news, as described in the story, is that the lamp of God
has not gone out and God is doing a new thing. I hope in my advanced age (not that advanced) I have some of the wisdom of Eli but I still  hope I never lose that exciting sense of call and purpose which the young Samuel must have felt  and my United Church Colleague must be feeling.

There is one line in the reading that would be a lot of fun to expand upon, the Lord said to Samuel, " See I am about to do something in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears it tingle"

I wish I had quoted this line last week when I preached about the voice of the Lord. It illustrates again the power of speaking and the voice in reference to God manifesting the glory and power of God. I have attached a possible submission to the paper based upon my sermon last week on the voice.

It also I think is a hopeful metaphor priming the readers to expect God to do a wonderful new thing. Although tingling might also represent a bit of fear of what is coming. Maybe it is both.

I am preaching at Kitley this Sunday and helping them do a NCD survey.  So I am looking at the Scriptures this week through this lens.

I think our O.T. reading  points us to consider the Natural Church Development emphasis on Gift Based Ministry. God is calling and equipping Samuel for a particular ministry. He has a very important role to play. Now not too many of us have as big a role as Samuel, ushering in a new order, confronting the sin of leadership. He will have a harsh word of judgment
needed for a hopeful new beginning for Israel. But, I believe all of us are gifted by God to do a ministry for God and God's church and parishes are moving towards health when each member of the body of Christ is doing the ministry they feel gifted and called to. Sometimes we have a hard time hearing the call, like Samuel but and sometimes people will call us to a ministry that truly is not our calling but it is exciting to think that God calls us to ministry and gifts us for that purpose. This is an NCD emphasis I think we can see in this reading.

I think the touching story of the relationship between an old man and a young person and the wisdom Eli shares and the courageous truth that Samuel shares with Eli is an example of Loving Relationships, something else NCD emphasizes.   You know, I think at St. Philip's now and with St. John's in recent past with Ciana and Xander that there is a lovely dynamic of the older members in a mutual loving and caring with the children. Beautiful ministry.

The Psalm for Sunday is such a profound prayer and for me it describes a Passionate Spirituality another NCD emphasis. The Psalmist describes the intimate knowledge and involvement that  God has of him/her. God knows
everything about the psalmist even from inside the womb. The psalmist knows that his very existence is dependent upon God and that he is fearfully and wonderfully made. That is a great line to ponder, explore and proclaim. We are fearfully and wonderfully made! God's presence is so close that sometimes the Psalmist even feels hemmed in. Clearly this prayer is the prayer of a person whose life is inseparable from God. That might be one definition of passionate spirituality.

Our Epistle reading addresses in particular the question of sexual morals but in the larger question of how as Christians we are called to live. I have not reviewed the context for these first thoughts but I think the Corinthians felt that since they were concerned about spiritual things they could do what they liked with their bodies and also that as Christians they
were also freed from the law so they could indulge in just about anything. They were free in Christ Jesus which Paul would agree with but clearly freedom did not mean you could do anything, it would not be beneficial . As you might imagine I am planning at this time to stay away from preaching on sex, but perhaps at this time in our society when the suffering and fear of many who have been sexually harassed and assaulted is in the news almost every day (the dental students in Halifax as one example) it might actually be a good time to speak on this subject. Clearly Paul is saying that
sexuality is far more than merely a physical act but in a very deep and profound way emotional and spiritual and that to ignore this  is to have serious consequences with our relationship with our partner and with Christ and the larger Body of Christ, the Church.  I think one of the beautiful things about belonging to the church is that it should be a safe place where everyone is welcomed as fearfully and wonderfully made and not  perceived as a sexual object where you might feel harassed or fearful, or put down.

I wish I was going to be in the parish this Sunday because we are reading from St. John's Gospel the patron Saint in Waupoos and about St. Philip, the patron Saint in Milford. It is an exciting reading because it  is all about the joy and delight that Philip and Nathaniel experience when they meet Jesus. In terms of NCD the story describes the Passionate Spirituality of Philip who is so excited to tell Nathaniel about Jesus and I might flesh this out in my sermon. I think, "Come and see.", is a phrase we can comfortably use with friends and neighbours to invite them to worship and to think about the things of eternity we cherish.

Anyway these are my first thoughts. I will be curious to hear what Dorothy
says this Sunday.

Tags: vocation; god's voice; hope; gifts for ministry; sexual morals; passionate spirituality