Sunday, October 22
Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.
How uncomfortably familiar this story is, even for the world we live in today! Samuel is charged with the task of anointing the man who would be the next king over Israel. To all eyes but God’s, any of Jesse’s eldest sons would have been strong and formidable as leaders. But God chose none of those. Instead, God chose the youngest, the smallest, perhaps with even the most feminine qualities. (The word ruddy, although sounding like rowdy or rough means red or reddish, as fair skin flushed from the sun, or a healthy red glow, as when blood flows and makes the skin glow.) For all these reasons, David would not have been the first choice among humans, but God did not see only physical appearance. God looked in David’s heart and saw qualities that would make David a great king.
How little we have grown! People are still judged largely on their physical appearance. White trumps black, thin beats fat, male beats female. But this is not how God sees us. It is not how we ought to see one another.
Before I lost 120 pounds, I was one of the invisible people. Other people quite literally did not see me. People would give up their spots in line, hold doors open, and speak in elevators with the thinner, younger, more beautiful women. But I was invisible. People didn’t acknowledge me. People didn’t talk to me in the line at the grocery store. Nobody wanted to help me when I was shopping. But then I lost the weight. Now people open doors for me. Employees seek me out to ask if I need help. I am no longer invisible. But I still feel the pain of those who are judged for their weight, their color, their gender, or their sexual preference.
At my local Home Depot recently, I nearly tripped over an employee in a wheelchair who was approaching me to see if I needed help. He was unable to speak, but held a tablet in his lap. At a tap of the screen, the tablet voiced, “May I help you find something?” Taken aback at the newness of it all, I muttered what I always do, “No, I’m just browsing, thanks.” But then I realized I did, indeed, need help finding something. So, I turned and said, “Yes, actually, where can I find these?”
The young man beamed, tapped his screen again, and it voiced, “Please follow me.”
He took me to the aisle I needed and showed me what I was looking for. I thanked him, another tap, and the screen voiced, “Is there anything else I can help you find?”
“No, thank you very much!” I responded.
Tap. Voice. “You’re welcome.”
Now when I shop there, I seek out Dylan, and he beams every time I ask him for help. He is not invisible to me anymore.
Narrative Lectionary Text: 1 Samuel 16:1-13
The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.” Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.