Dear Friends
1 Samuel 10, verses 20 – 22
20Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21He brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its families, and the family of the Matrites was taken by lot. Finally he brought the family of the Matrites near man by man, and Saul the son of Kish was taken by lot. But when they sought him, he could not be found. 22So they inquired again of the Lord, ‘Did the man come here?’ and the Lord said, ‘See, he has hidden himself among the baggage.’ 
Some passages have a comic element about their realism!  Saul was terrified!  In the preceding chapters you can read about how he had secretly been anointed king by Samuel, so it can’t have come as a surprise when he was chosen by lot.  He must have been dreading it.  I always think of him as painted by the bible as tall, gangly and awkward.  He was presumably fairly obvious however hard he tried to hide amongst the baggage.  Later on he develops serious mental health issues and ends up throwing a spear at the young David whilst he is playing the harp for him in his court.  Very much a reall human being with some real challenges.  But he is clearly chosen by God and actually it wasn’t all plain sailing.  His death is one of the great tragedies of the bible
God does have a tendency to choose real human beings.  That’s why he chooses you and me.  When you’re next feeling overawed by something that you can’t get your head around, remember this story.  It’s not the winning that counts;  it’s the taking part!  Fortunately God doesn’t desire perfection.  We live in a culture that is obsessed with success.  This does not fit easily, to my mind, with the current state of the Church of England which seems anything but successful.  But God does not look for success, he looks for faithfulness.  And if it weren’t for Saul, it is unlikely (according to the biblical narrative) that David would have become king.  And David is the Old Testament image of a really great king (again far from perfect, but that’s another story).  So Saul had a vital part to play to prepare for the ancestor of Jesus Christ.
Faced as we are with uncertain change at the moment, and having to make decisions about what is right for us, we are unlikely to get it right all the time.  But in deciding whether to shield or not to shield, whether to risk tea with a friend who has little idea of social distancing, whether to sail close to the legal wind in order to do something valuable for someone else, or whether to stick rigidly to the rules, ask yourself the question ‘Where is God in all this?  what is he likely to be calling me to do?’  and then don’t hide amongst the baggage!
A prayer
Dear Lord,
So far I’ve done all right.
I haven’t gossipped,
haven’t lost my temper,
haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent.
I’m really glad about that.

But in a few minutes, God,
I’m going to get out of bed.
And from then on,
I’m going to need a lot more help.  Amen.

I have a copy of this piece played on a harpsichord which is probably more authentic but possibly not as expressive..  It is from the Biblical Sonata by Johann Kuhnau.  The second sonata is ‘The melancholy of Saul assuaged by music’.  This movement (the first couple of minutes of the track) is called ‘The sadness and the rage of the king’
See what you think!

If you would like to join us for Evening Prayer on Friday it is at 5pm.

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