The Spark

Thursday, January 16

1-16By Deb Crowley of Charlotte, Michigan, USA

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.  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.

—1 Samuel 3:1, 7–8

His soul was dark as a mid-winter day. He was past his prime, blind, and depressed. His grown sons, serving as priests in the temple, shamelessly desecrated offerings brought by the people to God’s altar. They were selfish, gluttonous, and greedy.

Eli spent his entire life faithfully serving God at the temple. He was an oracle through which God encouraged, chastised, and led the nation. But it had been a long time since Eli had experienced a spark of illumination from God. And he felt he had failed miserably as a parent. He was empty.

Still, he carried out his daily duties. The young Samuel, a child presented by his mother to serve God in the temple, was Eli’s apprentice. Just a boy, Samuel had not yet made a spiritual connection with God. That is, until the night that changed everything.

In the middle of his sleep, Samuel heard someone calling his name. Thinking it was Eli, he rushed to his bedside to offer help. Eli sent him back to bed, assuming it had been a dream; he had not called Samuel. After the third message to Samuel, Eli understood what was happening.

Eli recognized the drought was over! God’s voice once again resonated in the temple. God had a message for Samuel. Eli instructed him to listen carefully for God’s words. Young Samuel was an unlikely messenger for the life-altering announcement that told of the destruction awaiting Eli and his sons. Rather than envy, Eli humbly accepted his “demoted” position and was strong enough accept his fate.

In the deepest recesses of his being, Eli again was comforted, knowing God was alive, well, and at work in the world. God was doing what God does best—restoring humanity’s relationship with one another and to the Divine. The spark that Eli feared had been lost forever was kindled once more.

Prayer for Peace
God, we are embers longing to be flames. Breathe your Spirit into our lives that we might burn with the desire to answer your call; that we might kindle a spark in others to find their part in Christ’s mission of peace.

Spiritual Practice: Honoring God’s Call to Others
Reflect on God’s call in your life. Quietly reflect on the moments when you have experienced God’s presence and invitation to expand your gifts. Write in your journal or quietly reflect on images and insights that come. When have you experienced God through the calling and gifts of others? How do your gifts connect with the call of God you notice in your family, friends, congregation, or community?

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will make time to know you, so I will recognize your call.

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1 Comment

  1. Betty Robinson

     /  16 January 2014

    What a beautiful devotional you have written…….May we take time to study and prepare so that we will recognize his call………..thanks

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