we thank you that even when
we are dull to your voice,
blind to your presence and
strangers to the spiritual,
you come to us again and again and again.
So accept our thanks and strengthen our efforts to meet with you now.
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.
At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ and he said, ‘Here I am!’ and he ran to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call; lie down again.’ So he went and lay down. The Lord called again, ‘Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call, my son; lie down again.’
Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him. The Lord called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’
(1 Samuel 3: 1-10)
To develop in our awareness of God and spiritual things we need to learn how to listen. This essential art requires us to be able to tune out certain sounds and tune in to the various ways in which God might speak. Like young Samuel we are in a learning process in regard to distinguishing the voice of God from the many other sounds around us.
Most people these days can’t bear to turn off their cell phones. Despite the ‘Cell Phone Free Zone’ signs and public announcements, a never-ending variety of ring tones still sound in classrooms, concert halls, libraries, at the movies and even at funeral services.
Brenda Goodman, in a New York Times article, says there’s a new epidemic afflicting humans today. It is called ‘ringanxiety’ or ‘fauxcellarm’. We might be taking a shower, blow-drying our hair or watching an ad on television and we think our cell phone is ringing. These phantom phone rings are an audio illusion and they’re a symptom of the saturation of the air waves. With cell phones becoming like an extra limb sprouting from our ears, most people are in a constant state of telephone vigilance.
Our ears become attuned to certain sounds like the crying of a baby and the ringing of a phone. The vital thing is that we practice the discipline of silencing the familiar sounds and conditioning our ears to listen to the still, small voice of God.
Spend some moments contemplating this God who is seeking to get through to you and keeps calling your name.
Pray repeatedly and reflectively the prayer of Samuel: “Speak Lord, your servant is listening” and then jot down some of your reflections.
Selecting a Souvenir
you keep calling until we become aware
and then you speak to us the things we need to know.
Grant us the same determination to seek you,
until we find you
and are transformed by your words and your friendship.
we have encountered you in reading and reflection,
now let us encounter you through people that we meet
and the experiences we share along the way.
We walk forward in your peace and in your truth.
Copyright © 2007 Geoff Pound Making Life Decisions
 Brenda Goodman, ‘I Hear Ringing and There’s No One There. I Wonder Why’, New York Times, 4 May 2006.Web site address: