First Samuel - Darkness

WEEKLY REFLECTION | The Second Sunday after the Epiphany, January 17, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the season of Epiphany, we celebrate the joy of experiencing the Light of Christ.  One of my favorite chants from the Taize Community in France is, “Within our darkest night, You kindle the Fire that never dies away.” Heaven knows these last few months and weeks have felt like a very dark night to many of us.  And I have heard even people of faith asking, “Why are you silent, God? Speak to us in this hard place.”

Sunday’s reading from First Samuel begins: “The word of the LORD was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.” If you look closely at the text, you will find at least 5 references related to seeing. And 13 references related to hearing!  This is the story of people hearing God and responding, even in the darkness, where it’s very hard to discern anything. Given that the word of God and visions were rare in those days, it would have been very easy for Samuel and Eli simply to dismiss God’s calling as a dream, or something imaginary. As a matter of fact, there’s a hint that Eli thought just that, as he sent Samuel back to bed several times.  Eventually, Samuel responded in the way God was hoping: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” If you read on past the end of this selection, you’ll see that God swooped right in to enlighten and provide guidance for Samuel. It’s like God was waiting, ear to the door, to hear, ”Come in.”

Speak, Lord, for your servant is listeningIn some ways, we’re in the same situation—waiting in the dim and confusing darkness to see God’s glorious LIGHT appear. And God is waiting to hear us say, “Speak, Holy One. We are your servants and we are listening.”  

We have been promised that God would NEVER leave us or forsake us (even though*we* have done that from time to time…). In this six-week season of Epiphany, I invite you to pray Samuel’s prayer, “Speak, Lord, for I, your servant, am listening.” And then to spend some time with your mind and spirit open to listen to God’s response. In the midst of our darkness, the Light of Christ, who loves us more than we can even love ourselves, will continue to shine, showing us the way we should go and bringing peace at heart.


Mo. Laura


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