Formed for Faithfulness: The Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

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Show Notes

In this fourth week of “Ordinary” (or “Normal”) time, Case reflects on how 1 Samuel 15 underscores the profound truth that God sees beyond outward appearances and societal expectations to the heart.

Nuance’s Formed for Formation is a weekly liturgy to encourage all of us to be faithful to Christ in the public square. Join Case Thorp as he follows the Church calendar through the reading of Scripture, prayer, and short reflections on faith in all facets of public life.

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Episode Transcript

Normal time. That’s the current season of the Christian year. But our God is anything but normal. 

A Poem

Spiritual growth, a sacred theme. 

Victory in Jesus, a radiant dream. 

New life rises from the grave 

in Christ’s love our spirits crave. 

Joyful anthems, hearts revive. 

Christ reigns, our souls survive. 

Salvation’s promise, timeless art, 

guiding us to a brand new start.

1 Samuel 15:34 – 16:13

15:34 Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul.

15:35 Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the LORD was sorry that he had made Saul king over Israel.

16:1 The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”

16:2 Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’

16:3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.”

16:4 Samuel did what the LORD commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?”

16:5 He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

16:6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the LORD.”

16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

16:8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.”

16:9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.”

16:10 Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen any of these.”

16:11 Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.”

16:12 He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.”

16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

In 1 Samuel 15, we encounter a pivotal moment in the history of Israel. The prophet Samuel is instructed by God to anoint a new king after Saul’s disobedience. God directs Samuel to Jesse’s family, where he ultimately anoints David, the youngest and least likely candidate by human standards. This passage underscores the profound truth that God sees beyond outward appearances and societal expectations to the heart. 

Today, we see a similar dynamic unfolding with Generation Z. This generation, often misunderstood or underestimated, is significantly influencing culture, technology, and societal norms. Just as David was chosen for his heart and potential, Gen Z is shaping the future with their unique perspectives and values. And so lessons from David’s anointing for Gen Z, God sees the heart. For Samuel 16 reminds us, but the Lord said to Samuel, do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as a man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. Gen Z values authenticity and transparency, traits that resonate deeply with this biblical principle. They prioritize genuine interactions over superficial appearances, mirroring God’s emphasis on the heart.

Another lesson, unexpected leaders. David was the youngest of Jesse’s son, not even considered by his father when Samuel arrived, yet God chose him. Similarly, Gen Z is stepping into roles of influence and leadership in unexpected ways, often through digital platforms and social movements. Their voices are powerful enough in advocating for justice, diversity, and environmental sustainability, embracing change. Samuel struggled with the idea of moving on from Saul, but he obeyed God’s direction towards David. Embracing the influence of Gen Z requires openness to change and new ideas. This generation brings fresh perspectives that can lead to positive transformations in various sectors, including the church. So, value authenticity. Empower young leaders. Be open to new ways. Just as Samuel had to adjust his expectations, we must be willing to embrace new methods and ideas. Gen Z is reshaping how we connect, communicate, and advocate for justice. The church can learn from their innovative approaches to addressing contemporary issues.

A reading from the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 4, verses 26 to 34. 

4:26 He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground,

4:27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.

4:28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.

4:29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”

4:30 He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it?

4:31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth;

4:32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

4:33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it;

4:34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

Heavenly Father, thank you for reminding us through your Word that you look at the heart, help us to see the potential in those who may be overlooked by society. Give us the wisdom to mentor and empower the younger generation and the courage to embrace the changes they bring. May we be a community that values authenticity and seeks to reflect your love in a new and meaningful ways. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

A reading from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, selections from chapter 5. 

2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17

5:6 So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord —

5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.

5:8 Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

5:9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.

5:10 For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

5:11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences.

5:12 We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart.

5:13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.

5:14 For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.

5:15 And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.

5:16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way.

5:17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!