Fear can hold us back. We sometimes think our only response
to fear is to fight or take flight, but I think we can also remain
immobilized, frozen and stuck, incapable of action. God tells
Samuel that it’s time for a change, time for a new king. And Samuel
is to pick one of Jesse’s sons. Samuel neither fights nor flees,
but he raises a good objection: “Saul will kill me.”

Sometimes when I struggle with a concern, my spiritual
director will ask me, “What is the worst that could happen?”
Samuel knows the worst, and he wants no part of this kingly
transition. Yet Samuel learns, as we all do, that our worst fear
pales in comparison to what God can do. God has a plan. Under
the pretext of worship, Samuel will check out the sons of Jesse.
Then God will open the envelope and announce the surprising
winner.

Upon arrival, Samuel meets some compatriots in fear. The
leaders of Bethlehem are cautious and nervous. Wrong political
allegiances can be tragic and deadly. No one wants to be on
the bad side of the king or God’s prophet. But Samuel comes
in peace and on a mission. He has moved past his fear toward
God’s plan.

Knowing the worst that can happen can free us. We may
lose money or popularity, we may be demoted or fired, we may
lose friends or family; but moving ahead with God’s guidance
is crucial. Knowing God is with us we can willingly speak the
truth with love, choose what is right over what is expedient, say
no to shady deals or tempting schemes. With God, we discover
surprising and new possibilities.

Amazing God, move me from fear to trust, from frozen to flowing, from stuck to motion. Move me to do your will, one step at a time. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read John 9:1-41

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Lectionary Week
March 20–26, 2017
Scripture Overview

First Samuel 16 reminds us of the bold risk that Yahweh took in the anointing of this young and unheralded shepherd. If 1 Samuel 16 causes us to wonder about the adequacy of all human shepherds, Psalm 23 reassures us that one Shepherd never fails. The New Testament passages consider the tension between light and darkness as a metaphor for the conflict between good and evil. In Ephesians 5, the struggle has already been resolved but takes seriously the continuing problem of sin. By means of the love and presence of Jesus Christ, even the power of evil cannot withstand the light. Then John 9 emphasizes the power of Christ as a bringer of light in the story of the man born blind.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13. How often do you allow external appearances to affect your decisions? In what ways are you learning to look on the heart?
• Read Psalm 23. When do you take time for yourself by slowing your pace, breathing deeply, and allowing God to restore your soul? How might this become a daily habit?
• Read Ephesians 5:8-14. How do you discover what pleases God? How does your living reflect your discovery?
• Read John 9:1-41. When have you experienced a “healing” that brought you back into community—either at home, work, or faith setting?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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