1 Samuel 3:1-20
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
SECTION ONE: NOTES ON THE READINGS
1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20)
Here we find the learned priest, Eli, and his prodigy, Samuel in the temple. Samuel is young and is in service to Eli in learning the ways of temple practices. God calls Samuel and Samuel doesn’t recognise the voice of God until the elder priest, Eli, suggests that to Samuel. Eli instructs Samuel to respond when called ‘Speak Lord for your servant is listening’. A crucial instruction that brings transformation to Samuel.
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
David, the shepherd, and King, recognises and speaks wonder and praise to God in this Psalm of recognition of the joy of creation and the created. David rejoices in that he is fully KNOWN by God, inside out. Before he was formed in his mother’s womb, God knew David was there. There is great joy is being known by God.
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
This scripture is a recognition that God gives us free will and free choice, the ultimate gift of love. In that free will and choice comes decisions that need to be made as to whether we will support what is good for our soul, mind, and body, or choose things that diminish and destroy ourselves. Here Paul writes plainly on this freedom of choice and the impact it can have on us and those in our families, friends and communities. No thought or action is missed.
John 1: 43-51
A passage for the cynics and critics that Jesus recognises our prejudices, doubts, and fears and still draws close to us. In this passage, Nathanael speaks openly of his derogatory view of people who come from Nazareth, an outback town in the north of the country. Here Jesus steps into the picture and informs Nathanael that he has known him for some time.
SECTION TWO: DRAFT SERMON/SERMON OUTLINE
Being known is both comforting and scary. It can be scary in that we know ourselves, all the good and the bad inside us, our thoughts, and our attitudes which can be seen externally in our behaviours. If we think we are generally ‘good’ then this can lead to a sense of self –self-righteousness and prejudice towards others. If we think of ourselves as a failure or bad, it can inhibit us from seeing our true self-worth and value. Being known by Jesus and God is comforting. God knows us inside out, our innermost beings and loves us, and wants us to be all that we can be. As an unexpected identical twin, I very much relate to the passage in Psalm 139. God knew my unformed body before my parents did. I’m sure my twin sister knew too as we were sharing the same space! I have been known to God from before my birth. Although I am an identical twin I am not a duplicate. God doesn’t make duplicates. In the whole history of the universe, there will only ever be one of you and me. We are THAT unique. It is important then that we ensure that every single one of us, whatever our circumstance, birthplace, geography, ethnicity, language, or ability, that we value every single person as made in the image of God. God is cheering us on and we see this in our friends and family – the wonderful creation that God has placed us in, to enjoy and not destroy.
Let us not be like the Nathanael who says ‘Can anything good come from…’ but rather the Nathanael that proclaims and exclaims to Jesus ‘You are the Son of God!’. Let us be like David, proclaiming the joy and wonder of our created being. Let us be like Samuel who listened to the voice of God and was obedient. And let us heed the words of Paul and treat our bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit and be kind to ourselves, giving nourishment to our soul, mind, and body and not the things that diminish and destroy.
Being known by God brings us the ultimate freedom to worship and to live in that love of God making unselfish, sustainable choices every single day.
Questions to consider:
- David praised God openly in awe and wonder at his own created self. Do we give thanks to God for giving us life? For the lives of others?
- We live in an unjust world in which many are discriminated against, harassed, and abused. Gender-based violence affects 1 in 3 women globally. How many women in your church could that be? How is your church speaking light, love, and life to women affected by abuse? What needs to change in your church so that women are valued equally as men?
- A key question to check ourselves in our relationship with God, each other, the environment, and ourselves is ‘How is what I am doing impacting on those relationships?’
- The prayer of David – could we truly pray that prayer and be prepared to change what we need to change?
SECTION THREE: ADDITIONAL MATERIAL
Anglican Communion Gender Justice web page Gender Justice (anglicancommunion.org)
Domestic Abuse and COVID-19: How Churches Can Respond – available in seven languages Domestic Abuse and Covid-19 (anglicancommunion.org)
International Anglican Women’s Network International Anglican Women’s Network (anglicancommunion.org) and (1) International Anglican Women’s Network | Facebook
Interview with Archbishop Thabo (Southern Africa Province) on gender-based violence 16 Days of Activism: Mandy Marshall in conversation with Archbishop Thabo Makgoba – YouTube
Anglican Communion’s Director for Gender Justice, UK