March 25, 2014

Grounded faith

By Anya Kreider, a first-year social work and peace, justice and conflict studies major from Akron, Pa.
SCRIPTURE: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 (NRSV)
DEVOTIONAL:

I have always preferred to identify with the underdogs, whether David, the Broncos or the Green Party. However, that preference may be little more than a wish, particularly in my current context.

I find myself yearning to identify with David, the outcast plucked from obscurity into respect and admiration. However, if I am honest with myself I am likely much more similar to the other expectant sons – prideful, privileged, confident and ultimately mistaken.

I often wonder if an authentic faith can even be discovered within the brick walls of academia or the pew-lined sanctuaries of our churches. Certainly we are not called to own our entitlement in apathetic ignorance. Where do we find a faith marked by sacrificial love and the potential for radical controversy? Are we willing to destroy the foundations on which our privilege is built in order to claim a faith grounded in the knowledge of a stronger love?

Granted, every context, every person, every experience is saturated in perspective, knowledge and value. Nevertheless, I hope we never assume that we are meant to identify with the biblical heroes, but rather are grounded in the complexities of our own realities and that of our neighbors.

SCRIPTURE: 1 Samuel 16:1-13 (NRSV)

Samuel anoints David

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.

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Comments (8)

  1. I appreciate the questions that Anya raises in this meditation.

    Sherri Michalovic March 25, 2014 |
  2. Just who is my neighbor?……..a question for the ages…..very thought provoking. Thank you.

    Randy Springer March 25, 2014 |
  3. Anya you give us something o think about our prriritys?

    Bob March 25, 2014 |
  4. Thank you for your contrast of underdogs with our ordinary lives of privilege…and all of that with faith!
    May our faith expand in this Lenten time.

    Barbara Clark March 25, 2014 |
  5. Retired UM pastor with 47 years of ministry, now 70 years old. Anya, I hope you become a pastor. The church desperately needs people with your theological and moral insights, and with your intellectual ability. I am very impressed. Thanks

    Brint Shafer March 25, 2014 |
  6. Thanks, Anya. With such insights when you are only beginning your college
    career, may you grow in “wisdom etc. …” We shall look forward to hearing from
    you in the next three years and beyond.

    Norm Morford March 25, 2014 |
  7. Anya, although I’m in a period in my life where I do identify with the underdog, your devotional today reached me right where I am. It made me realize that it’s okay that I’m going through an underdog phase, because often God chooses people like that over those who have it made. Don’t get me wrong; be sure, I’m not saying that God hasn’t chosen you because you don’t identify with the underdog. Rather, I’m saying that your devotional reminded me that God works in mysterious ways.

    Elizabeth March 25, 2014 |
  8. Anya,
    Thanks for the reflection. I noted your comment identifying with David. I would like to recommend a book I read recently by one of my favorite authors, Malcolm Gladwell, “David and Goliath.” I think you will also enjoy that book.

    Abram Bergen March 25, 2014 |