Introduction & Welcome
All the baptized have a calling in God’s world. God calls not just pastors and deacons but also the youngest child, like Samuel. The story of the calling of Nathanael plays with the idea of place. Nathanael initially dismisses Jesus because he comes from Nazareth. But where we come from isn’t important; it’s where—or rather whom—we come to. Jesus refers to Jacob, who had a vision in a place he called “the house of God, and.. the gate of heaven” (Gen. 28:17). Jesus says he himself is the place where Nathanael will meet God.
Confession and Forgiveness
Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God,
whose voice is upon the waters,
whose mercy is poured out upon all people,
whose goodness cascades over all creation.
Let us confess our sin, trusting in the abundant grace of God.
Silence is kept for reflection.
you search us and know us.
You are acquainted with all our ways.
We confess that our hearts are burdened by sin—
our own sins and the broken systems that bind us.
We turn inward, failing to follow
your outward way of love.
We distrust those who are not like us.
We exploit the earth and its resources
and fail to consider generations to come.
Forgive us, gracious God,
for all we have done and left undone.
Even before the words are on our tongues,
you know them;
receive them in your divine mercy.
How vast is God’s grace!
Through the power and promise of ☩ Christ Jesus,
our sins are washed away and we are claimed as God’s own beloved.
Indeed, we are forgiven.
In the wake of God’s forgiveness, we are called to be the beloved community living out Christ’s justice
and the Spirit’s reconciling peace.
Prayer of the Day
Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ, most merciful redeemer, for the countless blessings and benefits you give. May we know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day praising you, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
First Reading: 1 Samuel 3:1-10 [11-20]
At a time when visions are rare and unexpected, the LORD comes to Samuel and calls him to speak the divine word. Though just a boy, Samuel responds to God obediently, as Eli the priest has taught him to respond. This marks the beginning of Samuel’s prophetic ministry.
1Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. The word of the LORD was rare in those
days; visions were not widespread.
2At 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. 4Then the LORD called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” 5and 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. 6The 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.” 7Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. 8The 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. 9Therefore 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.
10Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” [11Then the LORD said to Samuel, “See, I am about to do some- thing in Israel that will make both ears of anyone who hears of it tingle. 12On that day I will fulfill against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13For I have told him that I am about to punish his house forever, for the iniquity that he knew, because his sons were blas-pheming God, and he did not restrain them. 14Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be expiated by sacrifice or offering forever.”
15Samuel lay there until morning; then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. Samuel was afraid to tell the vision to Eli. 16But Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son.” He said, “Here I am.” 17Eli 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.” 18So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. Then he said, “It is the LORD; let him do what seems good to him.” 19As Samuel grew up, the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the LORD.]
Psalm: Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
1LORD, you have searched me out;
O LORD, you have known me.
2You know my sitting down and my rising up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3/sup>You trace my journeys and my resting-places
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4Indeed, there is not a word on my lips,
but you, O LORD, know it altogether.
5You encompass me, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain to it.
13For you yourself created my inmost parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14I will thank you because I am marvelously made;
your works are wonderful, and I know it well. R
15My body was not hidden from you,
while I was being made in secret and woven in the depths of the earth.
16Your eyes beheld my limbs, yet unfinished in the womb; all of them were written in your
my days were fashioned before they came to be.
17How deep I find your thoughts, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18If I were to count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
to count them all, my life span would need to be like yours.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Paul helps the Corinthians understand that God has claimed the entirety of their lives through the death of Christ. Hence Christian relationships and conduct, including areas of human sexuality, are to reflect the reality that we belong to Christ and that the Holy Spirit lives within us.
12“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,” and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. 15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16Do you not know that whoever is united to a prostitute be- comes one body with her? For it is said, “The two shall be one flesh.” 17But anyone united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18Shun fornication! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body;
but the fornicator sins against the body itself. 19Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.
Alleluia. We have found the Messiah:* Jesus Christ, who brings us grace and truth. Alleluia. (John 1:41, 17)
Gospel: John 1:43-51
In John’s gospel, Jesus’ ministry begins with the call of disciples, who then bring others to Jesus. Philip’s friend Nathanael moves from skepticism to faith when he accepts the invitation to “Come and see.”
43The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip 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.” 46Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to
him, “Come and see.” 47When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” 48Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Je-sus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 51And 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.”
Meditation by David O’Brien
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your site, and give Glory
to Your Name, Oh Lord. Amen
Samuel is just beginning his service to Israel as a prophet of the Lord. He was just a young boy, working in the temple for Eli, a priest, when he first heard the words of God. At first, Samuel didn’t know what was going on. He thought that Eli had been calling for him. Eli, on the other hand, had been trying to sleep. When Samuel, with Eli’s help, figures out that it is actually God calling to him, he listens to what God is saying and faithfully passes on the message to Eli, even though it’s not a message that Eli is likely to be happy to hear. Samuel passed on the word of God even if he thought his listeners would not like what they were being told. In this way he developed a reputation as someone who could be counted on as trustworthy.
How does that work out for us today? When I worked in the prison, some of the inmates could be pretty needy. They’d ask favors such as a particular job or bed assignment or to be able to go to the chow hall early. When this was something that I was unable to help them with, rather then tell them what they wanted to hear, I would explain to them that policy prohibited me from doing whatever it was they wanted. If I could do what they asked for, and it was reasonable to do so, I would tell them that I would. If it was something a bit more complex, such as a transfer to another prison, and I didn’t know if it could be done, I’d tell them just that or that I’d look into it, but I wasn’t sure if it could happen. Then I’d look into it. Even if the answer was no, the inmate usually appreciated the fact that I was honest with them upfront. It also had the added benefit of not raising their expectations and causing disappointment when things didn’t work out the way they hoped they would. I developed a reputation with them of being true to my word and this helped me in the long run to make the entire block run smoothly.
Telling people the truth, even when it’s a hard truth, isn’t always an easy thing to do. In wartime, if our leaders are honest about the obstacles and difficulties that lay ahead, the American people pull together and work to get the job done. I’m thinking in particular about Roosevelt’s speech right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. What if he had downplayed that attack or the threats we faced at the time? Would this nation have been able to mobilize its troops and industries to win that war? It took dramatic effort and huge change to our society to make victory a possibility. Would American women have been willing to step outside their roles and go to work in factories without honest leadership? It’s no different at Grace. We are facing difficult times. Things may get worse before they get better. It’s probably no easier to read this than for me to write this, but our congregation has some problems that run rather deep. Choosing a new called Pastor may test our bonds. We’ll have to decide on the qualities we would like to see in a new Pastor as well as the character of the congregation moving forward. Once we’ve decided on someone and they’ve agreed to come here, that’ll be just the beginning. We’d all like to see this congregation grow to its fullest potential. Growth, however, can be a painful process. We may have to make some changes that won’t seem easy. But with God’s help and knowing ahead of time that we’ve got some hard work to do, I’m confident that we can find a way to get things going the way that God intends.
Prayers of Intercession
Guided by Christ made known to the nations, let us offer our prayers for the church, the world, and all
people in need.
A brief silence.
For the body of Christ gathered throughout the world and for all servants of the gospel, for Elizabeth
& Daniel, our Bishops, and Howard, our Pastor, that following Jesus, the church lives out its calling
every day, let us pray.
Have mercy, O God.
For the well-being of creation, for plants and animals, and for all that God has marvelously made, that
we serve as wise stewards of Earth, our home, let us pray.
Have mercy, O God.
For police officers and firefighters, for attorneys and paralegals, for peacekeepers and military
personnel, and for the leaders of governments, and those about to enter office, that they provide
protection to all people, especially the most vulnerable, let us pray.
Have mercy, O God.
For those lacking food or shelter, for those who are sick or grieving, and for those who are imprisoned
or homebound, for all those on our prayer list, that God console all who suffer, let us pray.
Have mercy, O God.
For our neighborhood, for visitors joining us for the first time or returning, and for those absent from
our assembly, that all who seek to know God are nourished by word and sacrament, let us pray.
Have mercy, O God.
In thanksgiving for the saints who have gone before us, that their lives give us a vision of the gospel
in action, let us pray.
Have mercy, O God.
Merciful God, hear the prayers of your people, spoken or silent, for the sake of the one who dwells
among us, your Son, Jesus Christ our Savior.
O God, receive these prayers as you receive us: like a mother receives her child, with arms open
wide.Nourish us anew in your tender care and empower us in faithful service to tend to others with
this same love, through Jesus Christ, our saving grace.
Together, let us profess our faith using the words of the Apostles Creed:
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he
descended to the dead.* On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated
at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
And now, as our Savior, Christ is teaching us, we boldly pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on
earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we
forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from
evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.
God the creator strengthen you;
Jesus the beloved fill you;
and the Holy Spirit the comforter ☩ keep you in peace.
Go in peace. Be the light of Christ.
Thanks be to God.