Silence and Centering – Pause for 2 minutes of Silence
“Be still, and know that I am God; – Psalm 46:1
Dear Heavenly Father, we lower our heads before you and we confess that we have too often forgotten that we are yours. Sometimes we carry on our lives as if there was no God and we fall short of being a credible witness to You. For these things we ask your forgiveness and we also ask for your strength. Give us clear minds and open hearts so we may witness to You in our world. Remind us to be who You would have us to be regardless of what we are doing or who we are with. Hold us to You and build our relationship with You and with those You have given us on earth.
FIRST READING: 1 Samuel 9:15-27
The day before Saul came, the Lord had told Samuel, 16 “I’ve seen how my people are suffering, and I’ve heard their call for help. About this time tomorrow I’ll send you a man from the tribe of Benjamin, who will rescue my people from the Philistines. I want you to pour olive oil[a] on his head to show that he will be their leader.”
17 Samuel looked at Saul, and the Lord told Samuel, “This is the man I told you about. He’s the one who will rule Israel.”
18 Saul went over to Samuel in the gateway and said, “A man who can see visions lives here in town. Could you tell me the way to his house?”
19 “I am the one who sees visions!” Samuel answered. “Go on up to the place of worship. You will eat with me today, and in the morning I’ll answer your questions. 20 Don’t worry about your donkeys that ran off three days ago. They’ve already been found. Everything of value in Israel now belongs to you and your family.”[b]
21 “Why are you telling me this?” Saul asked. “I’m from Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my clan is the least important in the tribe.”
22 Samuel took Saul and his servant into the dining room at the place of worship. About thirty people were there for the dinner, but Samuel gave Saul and his servant the places of honor. 23-24 Then Samuel told the cook, “I gave you the best piece of meat and told you to set it aside. Bring it here now.”
The cook brought the meat over and set it down in front of Saul. “This is for you,” Samuel told him. “Go ahead and eat it. I had this piece saved especially for you, and I invited these guests to eat with you.”
After Saul and Samuel had finished eating, 25 they went down from the place of worship and back into town. A bed was set up for Saul on the flat roof[c] of Samuel’s house, 26 and Saul slept there.
About sunrise the next morning,[d] Samuel called up to Saul on the roof, “Time to get up! I’ll help you get started on your way.”
Saul got up. He and Samuel left together 27 and had almost reached the edge of town when Samuel stopped and said, “Have your servant go on. Stay here with me for a few minutes, and I’ll tell you what God has told me.”
SECOND READING: Hebrews 2:5-9
It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified:
“What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
a son of man that you care for him?
7 You made them a little[a] lower than the angels;
you crowned them with glory and honor
8 and put everything under their feet.”[b][c]
In putting everything under them,[d] God left nothing that is not subject to them.[e] Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them.[f] 9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
On Sunday you may hear readings that celebrate the power of small things in God’s Reign: seeds that grow into large trees; youngest sons from insignificant tribes who become kings and commanders.
Today, the writer to the Hebrews makes a remarkable assertion that connects with the principle of valuing the small – human beings, though “mere mortals”, are cared for and watched over by God, and are given glory and honor. This is a quote from the wonderful Psalm 8, and it includes the idea that human beings have been given authority over all things – which in God’s Reign always means service and sacrifice. The important message here is that each one of us, as small and insignificant as we may be, is important to God and has a part to play in God’s work of saving the cosmos.
Alongside this image of human mortality and glory, the writer paints a picture of Jesus. Here we see how Jesus humbled himself and became “lower than the angels”, even embracing death for our sakes. Yet, as the Scriptures remind us here, and in so many places, God has glorified the crucified One.
This is something we still struggle to get our minds around – that even God, in seeking to liberate creation from evil and death, did not use violence or conquest, but used smallness, weakness, peace-making and love. Thank God for this, because it means that anyone can play a part in God’s work of grace and love – even the smallest and weakest of us. What small part can you play today in bringing God’s love and grace into the world?
DO: A good response to the message of today’s reading is thanksgiving. Give thanks for God’s love and grace and for the way God uses even your small contributions of service and love to make a big impact on the world.
PRAY: Thank you, O God, for your love for me, and for the way you shine your love through me to others.
As I listen for your voice, O God, so I become more alert to the signs of your coming.:
Faithful God Hear our Prayer.
For all who suffer, that they may find comfort through their faith, we pray.
For all those who minister to the sick, that they be signs of God’s love we pray.
For doctors, nurses and caregivers, that their actions be done with love we pray.
For Ourselves, that we always believe that God holds us gently we pray.
Gracious Father, we pray for your Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.
Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.
Look with favor, O God.
On all our needs
And hear our pleas when we cry out to you.
Grant to us, the faith of the centurion,
That we might give you glory
For the mercy and compassion
That lifts us up with your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever Amen!
God, I thank you for all that you helped me accomplish during this day. Thank you for giving me the strength and energy, as well as the focus and ability to do all the things that got done today. Thank you for blessing me with people in my life today who were funny or encouraging or helpful. Thank you for your favor and care for me throughout the day. And now, I thank you for sweet rest throughout the night. Amen.
Conclude with 5 Minutes of Silence