Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Day 1 at First Presbyterian

My first day at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Minnesota was very busy and very gratifying. We're in the midst of planning two worship services, one this Saturday and one on Sunday. Saturday is the service of ordination and installation, and Sunday is my first time in the pulpit and my first administration of the Lord's Supper. I'm very excited.

I'm also deeply grateful. One good friend is trekking to Minnesota from his home digs in Corpus Christi in order to give the ordination sermon. Family members and friends are flying in to witness Christ's work here in Jackson and to celebrate God's call on all who are claimed by Christ in baptism.

Two texts will be read during the ordination service. The Old Testament reading is 1 Samuel 3:1-10, the call of Samuel. I chose the passage for two main reasons. First, it is one of many stories of God intervening in history by calling someone into service. Second, it is the earliest story I remember learning about in Sunday school at Wasatch Presbyterian Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was probably eight or nine years old when I first heard it, which would explain why it might have had such impact, as Samuel himself is described as a boy. Here's the passage:
Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.

At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called, “Samuel! Samuel!” and he said, “Here I am!” and ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. The Lord called again, “Samuel!” Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Sam 3:1-10 NRSV)
The second passage is Matthew 10:7-10. I'll write more about why I selected that passage in a post tomorrow afternoon.

A quick postscript: I haven't posted in quite awhile due to our move to Jackson and travels to visit friends and family. Some have been checking in pretty regularly, and I appreciate your steadfast inquiries while I've been away from the blogosphere.