Second Sunday after Epiphany (B)
1 Samuel 3:1-10
Listening well in a world of noise.
Samuel learns to hear the LORD. He is guided by Eli the priest. Like Samuel, we can learn the voice of God whispering within the depths of our being. And we can learn to respond with the voice of consent, here I am Lord, your servant is listening.
And having learned to listen ourselves can we be like Eli, helping others to listen out for the Lord in a world where it’s hard to hear?
Seeing clearly in a world of shadow.
There are four sensory elements in this encounter between Jesus and Nathaniel.
Seeing as invitation.
‘Come and see’ (46). Philip embodies the gracious invitation of God. All are invited even though few might respond.
Seeing as believing.
‘Come and see for yourself’ (46). Faith in God needs to be owned. It needs to be personal. People need to make their own choice and decision. Jesus is there to meet every individual so that every one can meet God in a personal relationship for themselves.
Seeing as God’s prevention grace.
Jesus ‘saw’ Nathaniel before he met Philip found him and brought him to Jesus (48). Jesus ‘sees’ us before we are ‘found’. The love of God precedes everything he does with his creation. It was whilst we were yet sinners that Christ saved us. He doesn’t wait for people to change before he moves. That’s what’s meant by prevenient grace, it’s the deliberate action which comes first, and which gives birth to the kingdom of heaven.
Seeing with hope filled expectation.
Nathaniel is assured that he will see heaven open (51). In a world where heaven is open, there are no limits to what might ‘come down’. Christ has come first of all. He continues to come in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit of God. He comes to transform a world groaning for change, grasping for purpose, trampling for meaning, longing for justice, searching for peace. Nathaniel was challenged, invited to put his trust in this unexpected Messiah, who turns out to be the Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer of the world.
open my ears, open my eyes,
to hear you and see you.
Fill me with the love of Christ,
to lead others to faith in you.
Fill them with the hope and the peace
which comes from your holy presence within.