1 Samuel 1: 1-20

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  • Journey Through Grief

    by Danae Ashley
    In a church much like this one, a woman stays behind in the pews after the service. She is sitting at the back, off to the side, so no one notices her as they are tidying things up. Eventually, the priest comes back into the sanctuary to retrieve something and hears her crying. When the priest asks what’s wrong, the woman tells her story: she and her husband have been trying to have a child for over a decade. They have been through every fertility treatment, including intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization, as well as complementary alternative therapies like acupuncture and yoga for fertility. Nothing has worked. This week, the woman’s specialist told her that she is entering perimenopause. The couple also had to take out loans from family to pay for the treatments and she is utterly depleted—financially, emotionally, and physically. Quietly, her husband joins them and puts his arm around his wife. He says to the priest that they have prayed faithfully to God for the blessing of a child. They have attended church, have tithed, have volunteered in their community, and have even bargained with God that they would dedicate their child to a rigorous Christian upbringing, sending him or her to an expensive, private Christian school, no matter what the cost. In essence, they felt like they had done everything in their power as faithful people and they felt as if in some way, God was punishing them. Their desire to become parents had ended up causing them more pain and isolation than they ever could imagine. The priest listening to this couple’s story felt deep compassion for them. Immediately, the priest thought of the parallels they had to Hannah’s story, except for this couple there has been no happy ending, so how would sharing that be comforting?...
  • Country Church (1 Samuel)

    Poem by Liberty Hyde Bailey
  • Proper 28B (2018)

    by Jeff Bassett
  • Whatever is Foreseen in Joy

    Poem by Wendell Berry
  • A Soul Poured Out

    by Bob Cornwall
  • I've Been Meaning to Ask: Where Does It Hurt?

    by Kathy Donley
    Many of you will remember Leymah Gbowee. Several years ago we watched the film Pray the Devil Back to Hell. It was about the nonviolent movement of women who played a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s devastating, 14-year-long civil war. Leymah Gbowee was a key leader of that movement...In her book, Mighty Be Our Powers, she describes travelling to a camp for internally displaced people. In an outdoor shelter, fifty women gathered to share their experiences during the war. She called this exercise “Shedding the Weight” because it encouraged the women to divest themselves of the emotional burdens they were carrying. Listening to women unburden themselves was always hard, but on this one day, there were so many stories of violence and shame and grief, so many sobs and wails, that she reached a point where she didn’t think she could take any more. “We can just stop,” she said. “It’s okay.” Then a very old woman rose up on her walking stick, “Don’t let us stop!” she said. “The UN brings us food and shelter and clothes, but what you’ve brought is much more valuable. You’ve come to hear the stories from our bellies. Stories that no one else asks us about. Please, don’t stop. Don’t ever stop.”...
  • Hannah’s Prayers

    by Joanna Harader
  • The Plain Meaning?

    by John Holbert
  • Hope of Reversal

    by Beth Johnston
  • Proper 28B (2018)

    by Stan Mast
    In the late seventies, Lewis Smedes wrote a memoir of his life called, My God and I, which goes all the way back to his childhood in Michigan in the 1920’s and 1930’s. His family immigrated from the Netherlands and Smedes’ father died when he was very small, leaving his mother with four children. He was told that as the undertakers carried his father’s body out of the house, his mother moaned in her native Frisian, God is “zoo suur (so sour).” Subsequently, what a hymn calls “the sweet hour of prayer” was never sweet in their house. He found himself weeping whenever they met with God as a family for prayer. Meeting with God seemed to be a sadness for his mother, too, whether at home or in church prayer meetings. Though Smedes could not understand her native language, he could recognize her sobs and tears and heaving...
  • The Way of Faithfulness

    by Kate Matthews
    includes several quotes
  • God Answers Hannah

    Podcast with Robb McCoy and Eric Fistler
  • Hannah, Did You Know?

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    The similarities between Hannah's song (I Samuel 2:1-10) and Mary's Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) are well-documented and analyzed. What is quite different about these two women's stories is "the other woman." Both Hannah and Mary, in the context of their pregnancy experiences, encountered another woman. These "other" women offered quite contrasting responses to Hannah and Mary. Hannah must deal with Peninnah, also wife to Elkanah. Peninnah has children where Hannah has none. Peninnah's practice is to provoke Hannah, taunting her about her lack of children. Though Elkanah professes to love Hannah best, she is still subject to the stinging words of the other woman. In the manuscript illumination below, Elkanah, Hannah, Peninnah, and her children are on the road back home from Jerusalem. The journey home is one scene on a page devoted to the story of Hannah...
  • Hannah's Proclamation

    by Gregory Rawn
  • Hannah and Her Song

    by David Russell
  • Proper 28B (2018)

    by Kathryn Schifferdecker

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