I hope this week you have been able to stay cool in these dramatic weather shifts. Going from a hailstorm to 90o heat with 90% humidity has given me weather whiplash. What are you all doing to stay cool? The good thing is that you don’t have to leave your home to experience the love of God and the power of community because we are back again with an awesome Sunday of Bible Study, worship, and fellowship. I can’t wait to see you!
This week’s scripture is the story of God, Samuel, and Eli and it tells us of how Samuel became known as a prophet. Prophets are known for being conduits of God’s love and intention for us, but it often comes with some really challenging work – as the truth often does. This week the Poor People’s Campaign gathered across the country in front of our US representatives’ offices to demand just action for systemic poverty, white supremacy, and racism. It takes courage to stand up to people and demand action. Often times the hardest people to stand up to are those we have existing relationships with like our parents, grandparents, teachers, and even pastors. But speaking truth to power is what the Gospel calls us to do and it is modeled well here in Samuel’s story. Let’s read together from 1 Samuel chapter 3:
1 Now young Samuel was in the service of God under Eli. In those days, the voice of God was rarely heard—prophesy was uncommon. 2 One night Eli, whose eyes had grown so weak that he could no longer see, was sleeping in his bed. 3 The lamp of God had not gone out, and Samuel was sleeping in the Tent of Meeting, near the Ark of the Covenant.
4 Then God called to Samuel.
Samuel answered, “Here I am!” 5 and ran to Eli saying, “You called. Here I am!” Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Now go back to sleep.” He went back to sleep.
6 A second time, God called Samuel, and he got up and went to Eli. “Here I am!” Samuel said, “You called me.” Eli repeated, “I did not call you. Go back to sleep.”
7 At that time Samuel had not yet encountered God, and the word of God had not yet been revealed to him.
8 God called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said once more, “Here I am. You called me.”
9 Then Eli realized that God was calling the boy. So he said to Samuel, “Go back and go to sleep, and if you are called, say, ‘Speak, God , for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to sleep.
10 And God called, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Yes, God , I am listening.”
11 Then God said to Samuel, “I am going to do things in Israel that will make the ears of all who hear about them ring. 12 I am going to fulfill all the dreadful things I told Eli I would do against his family—from the beginning to the end. 13 You are to tell Eli that I condemn his family forever because he knew of the blasphemies of his sons against God which he ignored. 14 Therefore, I swear it to the house of Eli, neither sacrifice nor offering will ever expiate the guilt of the House of Eli.”
15 Samuel lay down to rest till morning, when he opened the doors of the Tent of Meeting. He feared to tell Eli about the vision, 16 but Eli called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”
17 “Samuel, come here, what did God say to you? Don’t hide it from me. May God curse you if you conceal from me one word of what you were told.” 18 Then Samuel told Eli everything, concealing nothing. Eli said, “God reigns. God will do what must be done.”
19 As Samuel grew, God was with him. None of Samuel’s words remained unfulfilled. 20 From Dan to Beersheba, all Israel recognized that Samuel was a prophet of God.
[1 Samuel 3:1-20 (ILB) / 1 Samuel 3:1-20 (NVI)]
Having to tell Eli what God had shared with him must have been so hard for Samuel. But what this story reminds us of is that the work God calls us to is faithful because our God is faithful. God didn’t just call to Samuel once and then move on, God calls…and calls…and calls until Samuel answers. God calls us until we answer as well – even if we let that call go unanswered a few times.
So, friends, what is God calling you into in this season of your life? What is your call? What work can only you do with God? Be it big or small we all play our part in building the kindom, sometimes we just have to listen.
Simple Prayer: O Lord, Give me ears to hear your call and the courage to answer back. Amen.
Disciples Center Volunteers Needed
Would you like to help us advocate for living wages, affordable and accessible health care, food security, immigration, and other important issues?
Would you like to influence lawmakers and legislatures to pass fair and inclusive laws?
Would you like to advance the cause of social justice in our nation?
If so, the Disciples Center for Public Witness needs your help!
We are looking for volunteers to attend advocacy meetings on our behalf.
What’s required? Your time, interest, and the ability to listen and take accurate notes. Then, send those notes to us once a month.
Children and Youth Ministry Update
from Kelsey Creech, Resident Seminarian
Last Sunday the older children met with Rev. Stephanie, and the younger children met with Mr. Trevor and Miss Stephanie Wilson. I’m told that all had a lovely time with prayers and thanksgiving abundant - including the joy that it is Pride Month!
The older children read 2 Corinthians 3:1-6 with Rev. Stephanie, then the younger children read the second part of “Paul” in their Tiny Truths Illustrated Bible with Mr. Trevor and Miss Stephanie. They prayed, sang, and said goodbye just in time for our Sunday Service!
This week, I’m overjoyed to be back with our children and our community as we celebrate this second Sunday of Pride Month! I’m looking forward to reading 1 Samuel 3:1-20 in the Inclusive Language Bible with our older children and doing an interactive, dramatized reading with our younger children this Sunday as we hear about the time a child named Samuel was called by God to receive a vision.
Happy Pride, Park Avenue! I hope you’re finding ways to express yourself as who you know yourself to be this month. Know that God is proud of you for you both already are and are constantly becoming who God made you to be!
Well, it isn't food for your stomach (though when we are able to meet again in person, we will share a brown bag lunch right after church), but it is food — almost a banquet — for your soul.
SoulFood Fellowship is a gathering of The PARK members and friends who get together from near and far after worship on the third Sunday of each month. We engage in conversation that is bound to get you thinking and talking. We discuss and reflect on books, articles, documentary films, or plays —in light of our faith, Bible Study, and concern for social justice.
Right now we’re focusing on Juan Gonzalez’sHarvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America. Don't worry if you haven't read the book. It is a slow read that calls forth loads of discussion and reflection on our country, racism, colonialism, and what God requires of us. We would love to have you join us and share your perspective, experience, hopes, and concerns.
Join Rev. Stephanie at the 2021 Disciples Virtual Gathering! Registration is now LIVE! Join Disciples from across the US and Canada for this one day, live event on August 7. Featuring Bible study, workshops and worship as we celebrate that NOTHING can separate us from the love of God.
Pandemic of Love is a mutual aid community of care that was started in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. It humbly began on March 14th, 2020 by one person and was intended to help her own local community. But, like an epidemic, the act of love and kindness spread quickly and is now a beautiful movement helping those in need throughout the world.
What is a mutual aid community? It connects people in need with patrons who can help with that need. This is a tangible way for people to give to each other, quickly, discretely and directly.
What’s the catch? There is none. Kind people are introduced to kind people which results in an act of kindness and human connection.