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Born in a time when women had no inheritance or birthright, Hannah is the proverbial underdog. Marriage assured and insured a woman’s future through male offspring. In spite of Hannah’s being the first wife (v. 2) and Elkanah’s favorite, her barrenness brings her to a point of desperation. Peninnah, the...

Teach me to relinquish control of my life to you, O God; may I trust in you especially when I don’t understand your will. When everything seems to be falling apart, may I cling to your everlasting love. Amen.


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Lectionary Week
November 12–18, 2018
Scripture Overview

The inability to have a child brings pain to many today, and this was equally true in ancient times. In that context it was sometimes even worse, for Peninnah openly ridicules Hannah for being unable to conceive. But as a result of her desperate, heartfelt prayer, God blesses Hannah with a son, Samuel, who will become a powerful prophet. Hannah then rejoices in a God who exalts the poor and needy. Hannah provides an example of the boldness with which we also can approach God now because of Christ’s sacrifice. The destruction of Jerusalem is the focus of the passage in Mark. Jesus here predicts the demolition of the Temple and the city, which the Romans executed in 70 ce.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read 1 Samuel 1:4-20. When have you felt trapped by circumstances not of your own making? How did the situation resolve itself?
• Read 1 Samuel 2:1-10. When has a situation in your life changed because you persisted in prayer? What did that experience teach you?
• Read Hebrews 10:11-25. Do you perceive God’s remembering your sin no more as encouragement or license? Why?
• Read Mark 13:1-8. What signs make you anxious about the world’s future? What helps you rest easier?

Respond by posting a prayer.

Our resolve must be different. My prayer is that we have finally reached a tipping point. My hope is that when the protests fade and the marches slow that our will as a church to truly eradicate the scourge of racism won’t dissipate but grows even stronger.” 

View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.