“Searching for Sunday: ‘Ordination’”

On Jan. 19, Pastor Jim preaches on 1 Samuel 3:3-10.

3 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. 2 At 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. 4 Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” 5 and 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. 6 The 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.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. 8 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. 9 Therefore 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. 10 Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

This Sunday we will continue our “Searching for Sunday” sermon series with “Ordination” as our focus. I realize that most Christians are not necessarily ordained by the church; however, as we considered last week, all of us are “ordained to ministry” through our baptism.

We’ll think together of the ways God calls us all into service by considering the story of the call of Samuel, Israel’s first judge. Sometimes that call is difficult to discern. There is a story about a Methodist circuit rider who was asked how he received the call to ministry. He replied, “The mule died.” In other words, farming was no longer an option, and ministry took its place. Do some folks simply fall into ministry? How do we know that the call to ordination is from God and not from within or through the misreading of circumstances?

We’ll think together about these things.