Emmitsburg Council of Churches


When God Calls Your Name?

1 Samuel 3:2

At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; 3:3 the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. 3:4 Then the LORD called, "Samuel! Samuel!" and he said, "Here I am!" 3:5 and ran to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me." But he said, "I did not call; lie down again." So he went and lay down. 3:6 The LORD called again, "Samuel!" Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, "Here I am, for you called me."

But he said, "I did not call, my son; lie down again." 3:7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. 3:8 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. 3:9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, "Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, 'Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 3:10 Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, "Samuel! Samuel!" And Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."

Let us think for a few moments – what does it mean when someone calls your name? Most of us are familiar with the fear that strikes near the heart when our name is called in a public setting, unless you are the winner of a grand prize!

For example: it's your first day in grade school. "Johny smith?? " here" mary sites??" "Here." Then your name gets called, . . . time seems to stand still for an eternity . . . your heart starts to race. . . "Was it really your name the teacher just called? Is my hair a mess? Will everyone laugh when they see my braces? Will the pretty girl or good looking guy but you must respond. You have to answer. And once you do, you will no longer be anonymous. sitting beside me notice this crater sized zit on my forehead??????"

We tend to waist a lot of energy worrying about such things!! When all that is really needed is a simple answer.

Nevertheless, having your name called in a public setting can cause a rise of panic. But you must respond. You have to answer. And once you do, you will no longer be anonymous.

"I'm here! Oh my god, (what) did I just say that!!???" think for a moment, why the fear?? perhaps it's because we are uncovered. We are found out! Once our name is called, the inner person of who we are is revealed. Now there's a face and a body attached to the name.

Perhaps once we're called upon there is a new responsibility for us to be active in a conversation or in a social sense, we're called to participate with other persons who are around us. We're no longer an anonymous loner, but once we're known by name, we are a known entity, a potential participant in the social order or community where we exist. Once we"ve been named–we carry an identity! We are somebody & recognition entails response.

Being Drawn into a Conversation or Situation, when your Name is called Means you Have to Become Active in what's going on. We could just shy away, but that's not owning yourself. That's not honoring god. As we are reminded in the psalm --god made you who you are!! Psalm 139:1-3 says, "o lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.

In the story of god's call to the boy Samuel (1 Samuel 3:4) we learn that god calls in the middle of the night to the young boy, "Samuel, Samuel." The nice thing about this calling is that samuel has no idea who is calling him, and yet he answers very positively and with optimism, "here I am!" I like Samuel's answer, he doesn't avoid the call. Instead being afraid or wishing that the call would go away or not bother him, samuel answers with a willingness to engage his unseen caller. Faced with the same circumstance, strange voice calling from nowhere–middle of the night, nobody else around except old eli – most of us would be terrified! We'd likely break into a cold sweat if we heard our name called by an unknown voice in the middle of the night – it would be creepy! Not knowing who's calling us in the middle of the night – and the voice is in your room!!!! "Samuel, Samuel?"

In a very different sense, God can Call our Names when we are least expecting it. Some of you know that Mr. Helman was member of this congregation and he had a "Calling" to write and record the History of Emmitsburg. Mr Helman captured the story which is very important to our town's history and a witness to Some other People's Calling from long ago. From Helman's history we learn of the following story about the rascal -- Thomas Finnegan–Corrupt Slave Trader!

"Ned, or Ned Crummel, a colored barber [in downtown Emmitsburg], held forth [around the year] 1844 in the Barry room. Soloinon Day, a local stone cutter, was in the barber's chair, when Tom Finnigan and Mulhorti entered [the barber] shop; they seized Ned Crummel and overpowered him, tying his hands (Day was seared badly), succeeded in getting Ned to the Square, where they had a [horse and carriage] to carry him off [to kidnap him].

At this juncture the town's people [of Emmitsburg] excited to a lynching point were stopped by Dr. Andrew Annan, who came riding up street, jumped off his horse, inquired [what was the cause of the disturbance], and using his knife to cut the rope, freed Ned the colored barber. These men persisted in a claim due on Ned's service term, their pretext for the seizure. Richard Gilson was sent for, who had some knowledge of the dispute; when he came it was proven beyond a doubt a fraud and Ned was free. Finnegan [and his band of thugs] left speedily or summary punishment would have been inflicted on them."

Instead of Being Terrified or hiding from a sudden situation that had come to their attention–based on God's Justice, the teachings of Jesus and their knowledge of the man, Ned Crummel -- These people of Emmitsburg said, "YES" to God's Calling. Like Samuel, they said, "Speak Lord, for your Servant is Listening, and we're prepared to act!"

And, when they heard the voice of Justice ringing out in their ears, they Responded with Physical Action! They saved the town's African American barber, Ned Crummel, from being illegally kidnapped, transported, and sold into slavery. This was following God's calling!

Our Calling as Christians is to constantly return to our New Identity as Children of God. Remember that you are not your own. But were claimed by God and Washed in the Cleansing Waters, even the Blood of Christ has made you Pure and Holy. You and I have been fully known – even before we were born. We were called to be agents of His Light, Justice and Peace in the world. Will we respond when God's unmistakable voice calls? You may hear God at a time you least expect. Don't be shy, don't be Silent or Hesitate when your Name is Called.

But be like willing and anxious to serve like Samuel, "Speak Lord, for your Servant is Listening." Amen.

Read more writings of Pastor Jon