Reflection for the Second Sunday of Epiphany - Revd Janet Gasper

 

      ! Samuel 3 1-10.         John 1 43 -51

 

     God’s call is the theme of both readings for this Sunday. The first book of Samuel opens on a barren landscape. Eli the Priest and Spiritual leader

    Of the shrine at Shiloh, is physically weak, his sons are exploiting the people and he cannot control them. There is an atmosphere  of emptiness 

     and impurity. 

 

    Out of this comes God’s call to Samuel, a child given by his mother Hannah for service to God at the shrine. The boy does not realise that God is

   Calling him, the call is repeated three times and finally it is Eli who perceives that the call is from God and Eli helps Samuel to make his response.

    Samuel is given a terrifying message of judgment to pass on to Eli ,but Samuel has to be prepared to respond directly to God’s call and through

   Samuel’s response , God will begin to usher in a new era in the history of Israel leading to the reign of King David.

 

   The gospel reading begins with the call by Jesus the disciple Philip. His first action is to go and tell someone  else, which is the way bits of news or

   stories get round in local communities . The person he chose to go to isn’t very enthusiastic. The gospel does not record Nathaniel as one of the

   Twelve disciples though some scholars believe he may be Bartholomew whose call is not recorded. Nathaniel is sitting contemplating under a fig

   Tree when Philip bursts in shouting “ We have found him spoken of by Moses and the prophets. It’s Jesus of Nazareth'. Nathaniel’s mind does not

   get further than Nazareth. He sees the place, small and undistinguished. We’ve all been guilty of this. I lived for ten years near Redditch but I can

   Hear myself on occasion describing my village as thirteen miles from Stratford upon Avon.

 

   Can any good come out of Nazareth? This does not look like a likely setting for an encounter with God, a closed mind not open to the possibility

   Of surprises. Yet Nathaniel does respond to Philip’s invitation to come and see and when Jesus encounters Nathaniel, he knows that here is a

   Man who can be relied on to speak the truth and Nathaniel inspire of his scepticism is called to the place where the vision of God is possible -

  The person of Jesus Christ.

 

  God calls and throughout Christian History people have responded in all sorts of ways. So what is God calling us to do at this time of crisis in our

  Country and in our world?. We are called to listen to those who have lost loved ones to Covid 19, to listen to those who have recovered but whose

  Lives will never be the same again, to listen to the nurses, doctors, paramedics, all hospital staff and carers tending Covid patients day after day. We

  Are called to bring to our loving God all who suffer in body, mind or spirit and to pray that all may keep to the lockdown rules and to know that God

  Stands by us, embraces us in pain and guides us into his tender care.