i must confess. youtube reaction videos drive me crazy. for some reason, youtube thinks that I am intersested in watching people, who supposedly never heard all time great songs or classic movies, offer their first time reactions to amazing songs and movies. i wonder, “what rocks have these people been living under?”
as annoying as reaction videos are, i wish to offer a new year’s service reaction a holiday scripture reading. while, i have read these stories countless times, somehow, i find something of contemporary relevance within them
this year, it was the reading from the book of samuel. ironically, the samuel origin story should should be more aptly named the book of hannah. it is her interchange with the priest eli which is so meaningful in today’s society.
one must first digress. in law, “leading questions” are carefully monitored. they are weapons to be abrasive and downright insulting. in essense, the question implies an answer. “when did you stop beating your wife” is the classic. in school campuses, there has been the invention of “micro aggressions.” derald w. sue, author on the topic defines the term: “the everyday slights, indignities, put downs and insults that people of color, women, lgbt populations or those who are marginalized experiences in their day-to-day interactions with people.” in essense, in everyday life, people are prepared to strike out at perceived. people, as a result, are taught to be offended at any little thing.
with leading questions and micro aggressions in mind, we return to the story in which hannah, a barren woman [without child] is suffering as her husband’s other wife has had a number of children. the family is at a celebration in shilo were the priests are located. those present are eating and indulging in wine. eli, the priest, was present and observed hannah at the celebration.
the following is the exchange: “and it was, as she prayed long before the lord, that eli watched her mouth. but hannah, she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, and her voice was not heard, and eli thought her to be a drunken woman. and eli said to her: until when will you be drunk? throw off your wine from upon yourself. and hannah answered and said: no, my lord, i am a woman of sorrowful spirit, and neither new wine nor old wine have i drunk, and i poured out my soul before the lord.” samuel 1:12-15.
impressed by hanna, eli answers to her “go in peace, and the god of israel will grant your request which you have asked of him.”
could such an exchange occur in our world today? would a hannah today blow up on eli who was harsh and lawyer-like? could this positive exchange be blown up in modern times? are people less tolerant and unforgiving to open up to each other in a constructive manner. eli had the opportunity to witness one of the most moving moments in the history of prayer. hannah received a blessing which paid off.
in sum, hannah, the champion of the first chapter of samuel, offers to all an example of patience and kindness towards others in the most difficult and troubling of times.
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