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Jesus outside on the steps, sittin’ in the morning sun

by davesandel on January 11th, 2022

Tuesday, January 11, 2022                                         (today’s lectionary)

Jesus outside on the steps, sittin’ in the morning sun

My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior. He raises the needy from the dust; from the dung heap he lifts up the poor, and he seats them with nobles and makes a glorious throne their heritage. My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.

I imagine Jesus sitting at the door of Hannah’s hovel, where she lived alone because her rival wife Penninah took up all the space in their husband Elkanah’s main house with her children. Elkanah didn’t understand Hannah’s despair in her barrenness (you’ve got me, don’t you?), but the Bible says he “loved” her. He gave her extra food from the family’s sacrifices. It didn’t matter.

Hannah spoke to the priest Eli: Do not think your handmaid a ne’er do well; my prayer has been prompted by my deep sorrow and misery.

She wept and wept, wailing loudly on the worst days. Jesus sat silently, invisible, whittling a stick with his Swiss Army knife while he sat in the sun. He heard Hannah’s weeping. And he whispered in Eli’s ear.

Then Eli said, “Go in peace, Hannah. May the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”

Could it be?

Hannah hoped. Jesus whittled. Eli was careless with his two sons, as they became corrupt, accepting bribes. Elkanah had sex (“relations”) with his wife Hannah, and in that moment of intimate love, they shared so much more than a double portion of meat.

When Elkanah had relations with his wife Hannah, the Lord remembered her. She conceived, and at the end of her term bore a son whom she called Samuel, which means, “God has heard.”

The lectionary links this story with Jesus teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. Exorcism isn’t much described in the Hebrew Bible, but Jesus stayed busy with it, driving demons out of broken, hurting, barren people. Surely he drove out Hannah’s too, just that nobody knew about Jesus yet back then. But can’t you imagine?

The man with an unclean spirit cried out. What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!

Not man this time, but woman. Hannah, asleep and suddenly captivated by a powerful dream. Then awakening, the warmth she feels toward her husband culminates in a sweet coitus, and conception. This is something new. No one can see him, but Jesus sits in smiling confidence outside their door.

Jesus rebuked the spirit and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” The man convulsed and with a loud cry, the unclean spirit came out of him. And all were amazed.

The man Samuel will soon be born, because God has heard Hannah’s plea. Hannah will dedicate him to God’s service, and then she will leave him with Eli after just a few short weeks or months. Later Samuel will hear God’s voice in the night, after mistaking it for Eli’s voice. And over the years of his life, “the Lord was with Samuel, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground” (1 Samuel 3:19).

What is this? A new teaching, with authority!

And I imagine Jesus, proud of this new son Samuel, listening together to their Father, as Samuel spoke with power and prophecy throughout his own wild and precious life.

 (1 Samuel 1, 1 Samuel 2, 1 Thessalonians 2, Mark 1)

(posted at www.davesandel.net)

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