A bare tree in the middle of a park.

Listening at the Intersection

This Sunday’s readings offer assurance that God is in relationship with us and calling us even when we do not recognize God. Samuel is called by God as a boy — three times, in the dark of night — and must be guided by Eli to respond. And when he does, he is given the difficult task of conveying hard news to the old priest. In the Gospel of John, Nathanael and Philip are called by Jesus but Nathanael is dubious at first and must be encouraged by Philip to keep his eyes and mind open. “Come and see.” And when he does, he meets Jesus, who knows his heart and tells him he will see the glories of heaven with his own eyes. And the psalmist expresses how intimately God knows us and yearns for us: no matter where we go, “even there your hand will lead me, and your right hand hold me fast.” 

This week we stand at the intersection of many events: we honor the work and witness of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as we continue to endure the shock and aftermath of the recent insurrection at our nation’s Capitol. We mourn the mounting loss of lives and livelihoods to COVID-19 as we wait and pray for the beginning of a new administration. At this intersection, we listen for God’s voice: a comfort in the face of such pain and suffering, and a challenge to do the difficult work required of justice. Dr. King wrote from his cell in the Birmingham jail, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

The words and work of the Hebrew prophets can inspire and guide us in this work. This Sunday at 10am, join Summerlee Staten to look at the work of Dr. King and the prophet Amos and consider a vision of a just society where all can thrive.

Although challenging work, the assurance that we are always sustained and intimately known by God offers the strength to pursue this call. As Dr. King encourages us: “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” 

Ruth Frey

Director, Faith Formation & Education
Community Programs & Public Life