1 Samuel 2:21-25
This is another one of those uncomfortable readings that we would prefer
to ignore. Eli’s sons had rejected the ways of their father—the ways of
God—and had fallen into evil and destructive behaviours. They committed
violence against the women who served in the Temple with them and they
used threats of force to rob people of their sacrifices. Even worship of God
can be used for evil ends! As a result, Eli had the unenviable task of
rebuking his own sons and warning them of the destructive consequences
of their actions. Eli knew that neither God nor any person could protect his
sons when the consequences of their actions came back to haunt them—
which they certainly would.
Eli’s sons used their position as priests to abuse and manipulate the people
who came to worship. Unfortunately, such destructive people can be found
in every sphere of life, and it’s tempting to become cynical about goodness
when evil seems to triumph. But tomorrow one of the set readings for
worship is the story of how Samuel first heard God’s call. It makes a sharp
contrast to the story of Eli’s sons. Even as evil seemed to be prevailing, God
was at work calling a young boy who would bring God’s grace to a nation.
This is a sober reminder that God’s salvation is always at work, but is never
forced on anyone, and of how we must choose either to live in it or not.
Those how have been saved and blessed by God are always called to
share the blessing with others. Tomorrow we will also hear about the call of
the disciples to follow Jesus. Today, we can prepare ourselves by
recognizing that we too are both called and sent by God to bring God’s
grace and justice into the world. In every moment try to remember that you
are a “sent one” today.
Here I am, Jesus—send me.