This Sunday we continue our exploration of Community with the first of four questions: what, why, who, how.

What is community? What does it look like? We began this conversation last week as we turned toward one another in worship and explored questions about families of origin, favorite desserts, and how we got connected with this congregation.

As we continue this series, we’ll journey through the book of 1 Samuel to learn through the experiences of familiar characters like Samuel and Saul. In this first part of the story, Samuel – likely still young at the time – must face an unusual circumstance. He must listen, he must collaborate with others, and he must respond.

1 Samuel 3:1-10 (CEB)
1Now the boy Samuel was serving the Lord under Eli. The Lord’s word was rare at that time, and visions weren’t widely known. 2One day Eli, whose eyes had grown so weak he was unable to see, was lying down in his room. 3God’s lamp hadn’t gone out yet, and Samuel was lying down in the Lord’s temple, where God’s chest was.

4The Lord called to Samuel. “I’m here,” he said.

5Samuel hurried to Eli and said, “I’m here. You called me?”

“I didn’t call you,” Eli replied. “Go lie down.” So he did.

6Again the Lord called Samuel, so Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said, “I’m here. You called me?”

“I didn’t call, my son,” Eli replied. “Go and lie down.”

(7Now Samuel didn’t yet know the Lord, and the Lord’s word hadn’t yet been revealed to him.)

8A third time the Lord called Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, “I’m here. You called me?”

Then Eli realized that it was the Lord who was calling the boy. 9So Eli said to Samuel, “Go and lie down. If he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down where he’d been.

10Then the Lord came and stood there, calling just as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”

Samuel said, “Speak. Your servant is listening.”

Consider these questions:

  1. How does Samuel initiate a community experience in this story?
  2. Does the community experience end at the end of this text?
  3. What does this story about Samuel’s call teach us about community?

Post-Sermon Update on 6/5

Audio from the sermon can be heard below, and video can be found at this link (will open in a new tab).

Sunday’s message included time for sharing a recent experience that was meaningful, and the idea that there is importance in such sharing. This falls in line with the assertion above that Samuel’s experience in being called was made possible because he listened, he collaborated, and he responded.

Considering our own experiences, we might understand the importance of:

  • listening – being open to experiences, allowing ourselves to be fully open and aware of all that the universe has to offer;
  • collaborating – sharing these experiences with trusted friends, with loved ones, and coming to mutual understanding of the significance of life experiences and what meaning they may have;
  • and responding – allowing ourselves to be changed, to grow, to be broken and to heal, to come to deeper understandings, to be transformed.

Consider these questions:

  1. How does our faith inform our decisions to experience the universe? Are we called to hide in fear of the evil and darkness that is so clearly present in the world? Or are we called to live as people of hope and resurrection?
  2. How do the elements of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral (scripture, tradition, reason, experience) help us understand the call above? In other words, what does scripture teach us about how we should live? Tradition? etc.
  3. What ways are you experiencing important transformation in your own life? How can you seek guidance in your life of faith? How can you be supported by your faith community?