One night, Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 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. Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” – I Samuel 3:2-4
Eli and Samuel are in two different stages of life. Eli is old and his body his weakening. Samuel is young and growing – both physically and spiritually. They are both in their “usual places” when the LORD interrupts their routine with a call. The Scriptures say that this was a rare occurrence in this time (I Samuel 3:1)
Nothing really feels like “usual” right now. In fact, everything seems highly UNUSUAL. And yet – there are places and roles and responsibilities that remain intact and need tending. Leaders still have to shoulder the weight of decision making. Students still need to learn so teachers will be teaching. Law enforcement officers begin their shifts prepared to protect and respond. Parents have children dependent upon them for love and care. Friends still need each other. Marriages still need attention. Homes still need order and peace – however that needs to be offered. Nurses and lab techs and teachers and accountants, pastors, contractors, custodians… you get it: all of us have our “usual places”.
The way we live into our responsibilities right now looks very different. And it may be easy to get knocked off track or for us to find ourselves wondering so much about what’s ahead that we don’t see the importance of today. The steady faithfulness of our most basic responsibilities is one of the ways we navigate these days. Start there. If your “usual place” has been removed or changed dramatically just ask: “what is most important right now? How do I serve today?” The question helps us dig deeper. And maybe…like Eli and Samuel, while you are doing that usual thing…like sanitizing the building or working from home, perhaps even pulling weeds in the garden…God will speak.
Eli and Samuel were doing what they always did in those days. Being attentive and available for the service of the Lord was their daily task. It was while they were in their usual place that God called out with something they needed to hear. It’s Monday. What is your “usual place”? How is God calling you to serve in that role today?
God please help us all see you in our usual places today. Thank you for the surprising ways you show up when we least expect it! In the name of the resurrected Christ, Amen.
Hallelujah by Wauauquikuna