Where are we left when things are no longer black and white?
Where are we left when expectations are missed,
fears are realized, and words are not enough?
Ashes make way for ashes.
A withered elegy heard in the land.
And yet, listen!
Laughter and lyre bleed the chords
from minor to major.
How do these come together by the difference of a breath?
We gather in your presence to ask of you, God,
in the name of Mystery, Truth, and Change, we pray,
We invite you to hear from the Book of 1 Samuel 1: 4-11.
4 On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions
to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; 5 but
to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her,
though the Lord had closed her womb.
6 Her rival used to provoke her severely, to irritate her, because
the Lord had closed her womb. 7 So it went on year by year; as often
as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her.
Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. 8 Her husband Elkanah
said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why
is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”
9 After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and
presented herself before the Lord. Now Eli the priest was sitting
on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. 10 She
was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly.
11 She made this vow: “O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on
the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget
your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I
will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death.
He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor
shall touch his head.”
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
The grass withers and the flower fades,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Amen.
Homily and Reflection
What is your suffering stripping from you? What does your nothingness feel like?
What belief grounds you in “I am something?” What space is created with your belief that I am something?
Today we see reflections dimly.
We perceive in part.
Adonai, we thank you that Christ has
secured our connection and our expansion.
We place our hope in you,
that your light shines through
our altered forms illuminating
our diamond nature.
Today, help us to notice.
Notice our changing selves,
changing lands and skies and seas.
May the God who heard Hannah, hear us.
May the God who saw Nathanael, see us.
May the God who spoke to Thomas, speak to us.
May the God who transformed Paul, transform us.
By way of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
we pray and may all honor and glory
be yours, amen.
Go in peace, and live the church.
May you find belonging and community this week.
[Photo by Artem Labunsky]