Dear Random Recipients,
A new issue is long overdue. On June 10 of this year, I got to preach my very first actual
sermon. This was quite the exciting event for me. So I prepared and wrote up a sermon, and stuff. I based it on the Scripture
readings for that Sunday. Here is a little something based on my notes.
"Speak, for your servant is listening."
-I Samuel 3:10
The world is a loud place. (Ever see my plaid suit?) Everything in our society tries its very
hardest to draw our attention--billboards, music, cars, television--everything. In a way, our world has been commercialised,
with ads on buses, bus-stops, walls, in mailboxes, on the internet, in the backs of books, before movies, even on clothes--everywhere.
Our society commands attention. It does not want to let us ignore it. The world seeks to draw us in, to make us see it,
know it, understand it, want it.
The world calls to us in other ways, too. It calls us when we decide to lay our
heads down on the pillow for that extra fifteen minutes and catch up with God later in the day when we "have the time"--or
the desire. It calls us when someone makes a remark that seems idiotic to us. It's so easy to let the sarcastic jeer slip
out, isn't it? Or the insult to an enemy. We are called by the world when things aren't going well, and the thought comes
to complain. We are called by the world when things are going well, and the thought of God does not come. The world is always
calling to us, our vices are always tempting us. Our sinful nature from before we knew the joy of freedom in Christ still
calls to us, trying to enslave us and catch us in its cruel claws.
So amidst this noise, is it no surprise we miss
the Almighty? He is out there. We've all heard Him, felt Him. He is the Giver of all life, the lover of our souls. He
is the One Who fills us with that unbelievable, indescribable passion for righteousness and love that overflows the soul.
He is the One Who provides us with streams of living water that we may merely survive in this world. But God does not advertise
so loudly. He calls out to whoever will hear. He calls out amidst all the noise of this loud world. All we have to do is
hear Him. If only hearing Him were as simple as saying as much. Unfortunately, we often miss our call. Sometimes it's like
an experience a friend of mine and I had. We'd been trying to get a hold of each other for about a week, but we kept getting
either answering machines, busy signals, or missing each other completely. One night the answering machine came on while
I was watching Spartacus. My friend said, "Hey, Matt, its me, just returning your call . . ." and by the time my
mind had realised what was going on, it was too late. I watched the rest of Spartacus, then tried calling, getting his voicemail.
Later that night, I was on the Internet. I phoned him once I was offline, and he asked me who'd been on the phone, and remarked
how he'd been calling and was going to try one last time when I called. Sometimes, when God calls us, we're just as hard
for Him to reach. We're too busy doing whatever we please, too busy being us and living our lives for God. But He is always
calling us, wanting us to know His will.
In today's reading, God calls Samuel. Samuel did not recognise that it
was God calling him. He needed Eli's help. Eli helped identify Gods calling to Samuel. In life, we often need someone like
Eli to help us hear God more clearly. It may be a Sunday School teacher, a Christian friend, or even a cool preacher like
my dad. (Maybe even one like me.) But if we have trouble hearing God's voice, maybe we just need help. There is no shame
in asking for help. That's why the Church is a community. Even monks, whose name comes from the Greek for alone, live in
communities of believers. We have people who will help hear God more clearly. God has put people in our lives to help us.
We should use this resource He has given us.
Finally, we must be like Samuel. Samuel says, "Speak, for your
servant is listening." We must have that attitude of servanthood before God. We must be listening, and we must approach
God ask Him to speak to us. We should not be hasty about it, always asking questions. We must just listen. God will reveal
it all to us if only we listen to Him and try to follow His path for us. All God calls us to is a relationship with Him.
Once we have that, to stay in tune with Him, we need not always know where exactly we are headed. We must just listen to
His words and follow in the direction He leads us.
So, if we are to hear God above all this noise of the world,
we must be willing to listen, we must not be continually "too busy", and we must be willing to accept the help God
gives to us.