Two chapters, chewed over and texted of a morning. If you'd like to play too - 07729056452.
1Sm1-2 God is with us in our barrenness. It is enough. By that and through that it is the making-meaningful of every circumstance that is worthy of songs, hymns and magnificats. And yet there are those who miss it, who, even being so close to things so miraculous, who choose quicker gratifications. Would that all sons might know that God is not like their father Eli, not quick to judge drunk, not anxious about his reputation. So in the knowledge of the God who comes running, let us love this Friday.
1Sm3 Started some wonderings about difficult words & all prophecy being for edification & that, but these thoughts seem dry & useless. I make all my narratives objectifications, & so also the narratives about my narratives. Speak Lord. Instruct me, make me teachable, learning from Eli so that I might learn to say with a whole heart that your servant is listening. Speak & disrupt my stories, categories, expectations. Need you. Speak so that I'm more than this clattering monologue, speak that I'd speak, speak that things happen. Tell us what's on your heart. We would sleep in your sanctuary so that we might hear & recognise your voice, speak, Lord, because you speak.
1Sm4 A chapter full of griefs, losses & humiliations. If the covenant box is the site of divine disclosure, & we know this to be our hearts bodies minds, can this be stolen? What comes to steal divine presence, divine conversation?
1Sm5-6 Divining signs and distinguishing coincidences out of the signal to noise ratio of God's will.. The gods aren't angry but. So many ways God shares a shelf with Dagons in my life, so many ways the kibod of God is not given its due weight in my life. This is life out of balance whence comes our tumours. So repentance, that our prayers may not be hindered.
1Sm7-8 Samuel led well, settling disputes, serving as a judge, building altars to the one God, interceding for a faithless people without overlooking their idols. & then we have bad reasons for seeking a leader, motivations of status, custom, false security. Let us seek God that we would not wound him, for God knows all our rejections of him, the all-powerful has made himself vulnerable before our choice.
1Sm9-10 What is handsome? The bible here has no qualms at adopting this problematic disney criteria of comparative description and discrimination. Used here in a cautionary context perhaps but why? It still stands to legitimate aesthetic partiality. Perhaps the translation could come softer 'considered handsome'? .. The culturally beautiful and less blemished are popularly esteemed as moral role models: how should we then look? How should we then look on those? Of kingship, there is a contradiction at play here that I have not squared, that Samuel would speak so strongly against this institution, and its vanity, and then verses later the text condemns Saul for hiding from it, and worthless fellows for doubting it. Anyways. Know we now that same speaking, rushing-upon spirit of God is ours today and more so, go we into today to speak expectant elaborate specific future tenses.
1Sm11-12 More questions. Genuine questions, but maybe we can tentatively hypothesise a little. Correct me. There is no one correct model of leadership? There are seasons for types of leadership? It was sinful to seek a king in this context because it was a rejection of God, a failure of trust. We are apt to make idols of our leaders? We use leaders to try to mediate with a God who whishes to be immediate and unmediated. Holding kingship & Christ together, our analogies become idolatries if we hold them too tightly or hold them wrongly. Buber talks of idolatry not being a simple substitute of something else for God in the place of our worship, but also in the way we relate to the onjet of our worship, we need to repsect the disanalogies between the way we are to relate to God and all & and human relationship in order both that these latter relationships can healthily image the divine, & that our relation to God our source, centre, sovereign, saviour does not become damaged in its being diluted or distorted by all that is incomparable in human relationships. Positively, leaders are defenders of those they are responsible for. Hmm. Go is always pleased to make us his. Breathe that in.
1Sm13-14 Funny that here at home also we wrestle in the meeting of tardiness and the well-intentioned impatience of an aging, risk-averse king? Setting arbitrary oaths is a symptom of losing fresh faith. Contrasted with Jonathan's but-if-not.. So, come, let us risk for it may be that God.. Come, nothing can hinder God from saving.
1Sm15-16 'I did obey the Lord' – not the first time Saul has convinced himself of his own godliness. how do we deceive ourselves, how do we rationalise our disobedient choices? This the desire to be our own god, the arrogance as sinful as idolatry. The end of Saul's strange reign & David's anointing a painful mess, church politics nothing new under the sun.. what might we learn about unity? The story would be different if Saul's desperate power-grasping had instead been humility. Today seeking the God who already knows, the God who looks at the heart.
1Sm17 What has not already been said of this story but that it is true and particular for you on July's 23rd. Something a little Just William in David's dialogue made me to smile on my way. And oh that we would come at modernity 'with sticks' so to the woods. Spiritual jiujitsu is a true truth and we should aspire to those pebbles, to be even extremely small but incredibly well aimed, so in our gathering and all our concepts of scale. Small is beautiful and urgent. Struck by Eliab and his cruel why in this reading: discouraged discouragers, I have know this slippery slope. God stay me.
1Sm18-19 I feel for Saul. It is painful to feel that someone else has been chosen & you have not, that God is with them in a way that God is not with you. A new testiment lens changes our theology, but we can identify the feeling of abandonment. How do we then live? Perhaps we could take from this passage that abandonment to God is the way to quell competitive comparing.
1Sm20-21 These friendships are the bromances we can, in our Life less proud, be so opened to, a yet foreign intensity of filial affection, what must we do to find such, what common cause creates such comradeship? These adventures are true myths, like the one we would be swept up in: church as an mmpg enfleshed: on a mission, for a cause, against opposing enemies run we with coded encouragement and strange assistance. I will ask for the bread we need from the God who is still good, I will be a fool, seem a fool and be despised, on that path of trust, in the cause of love, in the eyes of all, in the face of doubt, now in the arms of one, let us be as Jonathan to the other and more on mission.
1Sm22-23 Fragments. Bits of David's character come through that don't quite make for a tidy meditation, so is real life, what a strange rush of fragments of thoughts sleep dreams prayers. There was something about David – what makes someone such that when trying to hide he is sought out by the needy to lead? David who notices the one, who shoulders responsibility, an adventurer carer? David of straightforward conversation with God. Hello God, you are God, we acknowledge you, we surrender. Our 'shall I..?' 'will this..?' We beg you to answer. Lead us.
1Sm24-25 Mercy justice mercy justice. The best I can do for 24 is perhaps to ask what it would be to cut the corner off capitalism's cloak? 25, Abigail here with her mercy sheeps, a woman with a plan, a lady with a lamp, a long sufferer, a visionary peacemaker, an adventuring carer, here risking in midnight mediation. Thus should we be. The non-violent world we all want cannot be come to by mere passive resistance, but by active insistence on another's behalf, may we be gifting go-betweeners, mercy mediators, defending even the rightly maligned, speaking at cost for the foolishly blind, because love wins, because God will judge, because God is still good.
1Sm26-27 Keep on keeping on, for days will follow days follow this one. When the same enemy attacks again, bring it to God with honest frustration his 54th Psalm, this is what intimacy with God looks like & remembering that God is good & to be trusted, again againembody love from the difficult place, mercy has not limit. How to square with David's subsequent decamp to the Phillistines, unsure. A running away? Or somehow the overflow of this trust? Discernment we ask for.
1Sm28-29 Consulting the dead, oh what a world is this we live in. In that state of divine disconnect, when we choose against God, we are at the mercy of any advice, strung out, strung along, filled by any fattened calf.. Then they rose and went away that night, badland drifters, as you say, abandoned by for not being abandoned to. Now David cannot, and neither we, be allied to any other. Try as we may, in trying to ease our exile, we are marked by an alterior, somewhat as AIIIH's Daniel last night, doubted by deputies, for better and worse. We can pretend a peace in peacetime but we will have to pick a side and we have already been picked.
1Sm30-31 Rescue Missions: These are God's work in us & our work in God. Restoration from captivity & then some to give away. Is David's distribution premised on Matt20's grace or Rom12's gifts? ..And when does it matter? Saul & the importance of funerals, to you in the west country as you celebrate the importance of weddings.