St. Giles’ Cathedral
Sunday March 22 2020
Fourth Sunday in Lent
The Word of God
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.” 2Samuel 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.’ 3Invite 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.” 4Samuel did what the Lordcommanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5He 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.
6When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.” 7But 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.” 8Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 9Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 11Samuel 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.” 12He 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.” 13Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lordcame mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.
Reflection by Calum I MacLeod, Minister
I spoke recently in a sermon of how our scriptures present a God whose actions bring surprise to those whom God is in relationship with: bread falling from the skies to feed those who hunger, water gushing forth from a rock to satisfy the thirsty (Exodus 16 and 17.) In our story from 1 Samuel today we find a tale of twists and turns which ends with the surprise of God choosing an unlikely lad to be the new King to replace Israel’s King Saul, who has failed.
It is a story of hope amidst crisis, of the promise that God cares for God’s children; does new things when the old ways hit a wall and that we are to trust that God has our best interests at heart.
This David will embody the surprises of God as he overcomes the giant warrior Goliath, will prove to be all too human in his relationship with Bathsheba and his descendant will call himself the Good Shepherd and be named Immanuel – God with us.
In these early days of isolation, distancing and fear over contagious illness it is good to remember the words attributed to David in the Psalm which is to be read on this Fourth Sunday in Lent.
Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil; for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
(Psalm 23 AV)
God with us, Good Shepherd,
we give you thanks for home and hearth,
loved ones to cherish,
your providing and sustaining love.
Hear our prayer for your world as it faces the health crisis.
Be close to the vulnerable, the fearful,
those who are ill and those who mourn.
Strengthen those who are at the front line of battling the virus;
healthcare workers; scientists; political leaders.
Inspire us all to be friendly, loving and caring
to our neighbour in these times.
A hymn text for the day
1. The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want;
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; He leadeth me
The quiet waters by.
2. My soul He doth restore again,
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
E’en for His own Name’s sake.
3. Yea, though I walk through death’s dark vale,
Yet will I fear no ill,
For Thou art with me, and Thy rod
And staff me comfort still.
4. A table Thou hast furnished
In presence of my foes;
My head Thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.
5. Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me,
And in God’s house forevermore
My dwelling place shall be.
Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.
Ancient Scottish Gaelic Blessing