by Bob Wickizer

Spiritual Alzheimers
Bob Wickizer
1 Samuel 3:1-10(11-20); Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; John 1:43-51

Today on this second Sunday of Epiphany we contemplate two dreams from two different times, two different prophets and two different places. One is the dream of a twelve year old temple assistant for an aging high priest named Eli. The other is the dream of a young Baptist preacher that will only become clear and preached near the end of his life.

Young Samuel is the least likely person to change the course of a nation. His first task is to tell his boss some very bad news. God has had it with Eli and his sons. They will be cut down. Leadership of Israel is not something young Samuel chooses, but is something God has thrust upon him. In a similar way God chose an inexperienced politician and untested preacher with no leadership credentials to drag this nation into a new era.

In both cases, God acts through Samuel and Dr. King through their preaching. They both preach very hard moral judgments to a nation that has lost its compass. There is one difference between the stories of these two prophets and the present day however. In the days of Samuel and Martin Luther King, the nation looked to its religious leaders for moral guidance. Today that has all changed.

Pope Francis noted that those commissioned by God to speak for the powerless are asleep. I think this is what the reading from Samuel means when it says ''The word of the LORD was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.'' The Pope calls it an ''impotent silence'' and he goes on to say that the church and its leaders suffer from a ''lust for power'' and ''spiritual Alzheimer's.'' The Word of the Lord IS rare today. Visions are not widespread. The leaders of our church and nation suffer from spiritual Alzheimer's.

In his day Samuel exposed the threat of the new kings of Israel who were more concerned with their own security and wealth rather than the well-being of their ...

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