Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord under Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; visions were not widespread (1 Samuel 3:1)
Can you hear the fear and anxiety in those words? “The word of the Lord was rare in those days.” For a society that lived by seeking God’s word and God’s protection to have that word become rare was terrible. Think back to that first teenage romance and the anxiety when the other doesn’t call for a couple of days. Did I do/say something wrong? Doesn’t he (or she) like me anymore?
But however real the pain of the first ended romance might be, it is far worse for people of faith to feel cut off from God. That disconnection throws everything else into question. To not be able to hear God’s word means that a vital source of guidance is missing.
Many people today suggest that God’s word is rare, that visions of God’s way are not widespread. Some suggest that this is because we have stopped listening, others that God’s word was sealed generations ago and all we have to do is interpret it correctly, still others may claim that God has given up on all but a select few who will be taken up to heaven in due time. Whatever reason is given, it still comes down to a belief that God is not speaking to us. And that leads directly to fatalism, despair, and exclusion of those who are different – because different is a threat and in our worrying about the world falling apart we fear those who are different.
But there is another option. There is always the chance that the Word of God continues to be a living, spoken, changing word. The Word of God is a Word that speaks to people in every age in a different way. The Word of God speaks of the challenges and trials that we face here and now, not only through the ancient stories of Scripture but through the living action of the Spirit in day-to-day life.
And what is God talking about? The same things God has always talked about. The Word of God is still about God’s amazingly inclusive and abundant Love. The Word is about God’s hope and plan for a new way of living together. The Word is there to remind us that we are never, not even for a microsecond, alone or forgotten.
Is God still speaking? Most definitely. God never stops speaking. The Word of God lives, pushing us to carefully reconsider how we understand the words, old and new, said to be The Word. If we stop to take time and listen, if we take the chance of putting away our old lenses and blinders, then we will find out that God is still speaking. Have no fear. The Spirit is here.