As we listen to the scriptures this week we focus on our attention on first listening to the Lord. This listening with the ear of the heart is vital to our prophetic response to see where and how the Lord is calling us. In the midst of this we also remember this weekend the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A prophet for our time, and a model for listening to God’s call to each of us.
There are a few things that caught my attention in my reflection on scripture this week. Samuel is sleeping in the presence of the Ark of the Covenant. This closeness to God and being physically present to God’s dwelling place disposes Samuel to this close encounter and calling from God. Recall that the reason why Samuel is in the temple is because his mother, Hanna, had promised that if the Lord would bless her with a child she would dedicate him to the Lord. So Samuel is raised by Eli in the Temple and it here at a young age Samuel first hears the Lord calling him.
Samuel is living and serving in the Temple and God calls him. The other key element is Samuel’s initial confusion. Samuel although having lived and served in the temple was unfamiliar with the Lord and so it is Eli who Samuel runs to, and he explains that it is the Lord our God who is the one who is calling the youth. So Eli instructs Samuel to respond “Speak Lord Your Servant is Listening”
Both the call and the response are vital for God using the prophet to speak to His people. Martin Luther King Jr, was one who God had chosen for us as a prophet and we are called to not only hear His words rooted in both the scriptures and his context. You see Martin Luther King Jr knew that God had called him and that his work and commitment to the prophet message of Non Violent Social change was his response to God’s calling. The true prophet recognizes the giver of the gift and it is not for his glory but rather the glory of God.
Martin speaks of this in his drum major instinct sermon. Martin called this instinct as the “vitamin A to the ego, and that much of the race problems stem from this ego. But let’s look how Martin speaks of this in reference to when his time comes for a message at his own funeral:
I want you to say that day that I tried to be right and to walk with them. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe the naked. I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. And I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.
And all of the other shallow things will not matter.
I won’t have any money to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that is all I want to say. If I can help somebody as I pass along, if I can cheer somebody with a well song, if I can show somebody he’s traveling wrong, then my living will not be in vain.
In the Gospel of John the first chapter we see John the Baptist a prophet who points out the Messiah, he says ““Behold, the Lamb of God.” You the Prophet in response to God’s calling points beyond himself to something greater. John was pointing to Jesus, the one for whom he came to bear witness and direct us all. The prophet speaks and does what God has indicated that he should.
Like John and Samuel we are called to listen and to respond to the calling of God. To be willing like Jesus says to “Come and See” The times we live in are the most challenging and most daunting. But we as church and a a people must be willing to stand boldly and be in the word’s of Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Majors for Justice, Drum Majors for Peace, Drum Majors for righteousness. Our response to the Call of God and responding to the invitation to come and see has the power to change us.
In the Gospel that day two brothers, Andrew and Simon, follow Jesus and that encounter changes their lives. When Andrew brings his brother to Jesus something happens. Jesus tell Simon son of John, that his name will be Cephas which is Peter or Petrus meaning Rock. You see Jesus has a plan for Peter (Cephas) the rock will be the foundation of His Church. Each of us is called to respond to the call to listen and to come and see. See how God is calling us, is seeking us out for God’s purpose to be made manifest in our lives.