Racial Justice Day
Cathi Cackler-Veazey, World Church Diversity and Inclusion Team, co-leader
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.'” -1 Samuel 3:8-9a
How many of us ask ourselves if we are willing to answer God’s call with “Here am I, Lord!” when doing so is difficult. How will we answer if we may face retribution, condemnation, or the loss of friendships? By simply saying “Here am I, Lord” we also must determine if answering “yes” means sacrificing our comfortable position in our family or community.
Most of us are surrounded by people who look like us, think like us, or live like us. We usually are not called to sacrifice much, so long as we don’t challenge the norms around us. In the biblical story, Samuel was called by God three times in the night and ran, asking Elijah, “Did you call me?” After denying he had called him, Eli realized it was God who had called. So, he told Samuel to answer, “Here I am, Lord” and receive the message.
When he did, Samuel was confronted with a real challenge because the message God gave him was to tell Eli that he and his family were not following God’s will. How difficult that must have been!
What would we do if challenged to confront wrong? Would we say, “Here am I”? Today we confront injustice that God calls us to stand against. Injustice based on ethnicity, race, religion, gender, orientation, and so many other diversities. Are we willing to stand and say, “Here I am, my Lord” and speak truth to those around us? Truth to power about the injustice that others experience. Are we willing to stand with others when they are marginalized, treated cruelly, or treated unequally?
The message in the biblical story of Samuel is that not only did he have to learn to know the voice of God, but he had to be willing to answer the call. And once Samuel answered the call, he had to have the courage to embrace the message and share it with Eli. He could have lost everything had Eli been offended.
So the question is, are we willing to answer God’s call to stand with others of diversity when it might cost us the approval of those whose opinions we value? Are we willing to place right before reputation or favor? Are we willing to be as brave as Samuel was when he had to go to Eli and say God has a message for you today?
“Light dawns on a weary world.” CCS 240
The Light of God
Epiphany invites us to focus on the light of God. Close your eyes and draw your attention to your breath. As you breathe gently in and out, reflect on the statement, “The light of God is in all things.” The light has a bright, soft beauty and radiates God’s healing love. The light of God reaches you and permeates you with a deep sense of peace. Rest in the light as it surrounds and fills you. Thank God that you live in God’s light and it lives in you.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.