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Who wants to hear bad news? A parent finds a child standing in the kitchen next to an empty cookie jar with crumbs on his shirt. The parent asks, “Who ate all the cookies?” Looking bewildered, the child responds, “I don’t know.” Perhaps the parent responds with punishment for lying....

O Holy One, who bears all news, good and bad, may we be willing to seek and to deliver bad news when necessary. Teach us to do so with compassion and care. Amen.


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Lectionary Week
January 8–14, 2018
Scripture Overview

We read the stories of Samuel and the calling of Jesus’ disciples in John, and it is easy to feel jealous. God spoke so directly into their lives that they should have had, it seems to us, full and unwavering confidence in their calling. Didn’t they have an unfair spiritual advantage over us? However, the psalmist reminds us that God knows and sees us individually just as well as God knew Samuel and Jesus knew his disciples. God has plans for us, even if they are revealed in less obvious ways. The reading from Corinthians is quite different in its message. Perhaps we can at least recognize that even if we never hear God’s audible voice, through scripture God still provides guidance for our lives.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read 1 Samuel 3:1-20. In what ways do you remain responsive to hearing God’s voice?
• Read Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18. What sense of God’s involvement in your everyday life do you have?
• Read 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. How do you remind yourself of the spirit–body connection?
• Read John 1:43-51. When have you allowed prejudice to affect your decision about a person’s competency?

Respond by posting a prayer.

To anyone considering the 2022 Spiritual Formation in Today’s World: Ask yourself if you are ready and willing to give your heart, mind, body, and soul to the experience. If you are, you will be changed in ways you may not even know you need. And it will continue to shape you into the future.” 


Learn more about Spiritual Formation in Today’s World: A One-Year Online Offering from The Academy for Spiritual Formation here.