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The week in focus for week beginning Sunday 2 June 2024

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Up-to-the-minute jumping-off points for sermons, linking the reading to the latest news and global issues

 

Persistent but patient

God called Samuel four times before he responded (1 Samuel 3:1-10)

 

Context

 

Ideas for sermons or interactive talks

  • In the week the election is called we are already seeing and hearing people saying that they are fed up with the political process and are intending not to vote. As Christians, God calls us to be citizens of a heavenly kingdom but also of the earthly realm in which we live now. It is easy to lose heart and believe that there is no point is engaging because nothing will change. Yet God patiently persisted with Samuel.

  • In the last few days, the report on the inquiry into infected blood has been released. It does not make easy reading for anyone. The stories of suffering surrounding the report are terrible. Compensation may be helpful to some but for many it has come too late. Victims and their families have felt that they have not been heard. What is God saying to those who have felt for years that their voices have been overlooked?

  • A law quashing the convictions of hundreds of sub-postmasters wrongly convicted as a result of faulty accountancy software was one of the final acts to be passed by the outgoing parliament. Prosecutions happened between 1999 and 2015. Over all those years there have been persistent calls for justice. The calls appeared to have been disregarded; the evidence presented denied; the plight of innocent victims of an unfair system has been ignored. Yet they persisted and in the end justice has been served, at least in part. Just as God persisted in his calling to Samuel, we are reminded of the necessity of persistently seeking justice and patiently waiting for it to be done.

 

Questions for discussion

  • How is God calling you to engage with the political process?
  • Are there areas of justice that Christians should be persistently drawing to the attention of those with power and authority?
  • Have there been times when God has been patient and persistent with you?

Revd Stuart Wild is Superintendent Minister of the Blackpool and South Fylde Methodist Circuit.

 

 

Check-in

Connecting faith with everyday, real-life issues for young people

The songwriter Richard M Sherman died at the age of 95 on 25 May this year. He and his brother were responsible for some wonderful songs such as Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang (from the musical of the same name), I wanna be like you (Jungle Book) and, from Mary Poppins, the sublime A spoonful of sugar. (I would have mentioned Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious but I don’t trust the spell checker.) Musing on the lyrics in A spoonful of sugar I remembered how it informed us that in every job that must be done there is an element of fun - you find the fun and snap the job’s a game.

I wonder if the prophet Samuel would agree with that. He was told by God that God was going to punish Eli and his family. When asked by Eli what God’s message had been, although Samuel had been afraid to tell Eli, he did not hesitate to inform him. That cannot have been easy for the young boy who did not even recognise that it was God who was calling him.

Yet, reading on in the books that bear his name, Samuel appears to have been unfailingly faithful and obedient throughout his life. I doubt he would describe the role of a prophet as having an element of fun but I am sure there was job satisfaction. Those whom God calls he also equips and those who are equipped by God know his presence, support and encouragement in the role they pursue. I think that’s better than a spoonful of sugar.

Methodist Minister Stuart Wild is based on the Lancashire coast and enjoys listening to songs from films and shows.

 

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