Today's Lectionary Text
1 Samuel 10:6
Then the spirit of the Lord will possess you, and you will be in a prophetic frenzy along with them and be turned into a different person.
If you were to speak to me at 6:30am in the morning, you might not recognize me. Crazy hair, eyes still closed, just a snarling fool until I’ve had a couple cups of coffee in me. Somehow, before 8am, I become a different person: Bathed, alert, and speaking in complete sentences. Stop by any morning and you’ll watch me change before your eyes. (Please don’t stop by)
People change all the time. The woman who loses a 100 pounds. The girl who suddenly excels on the field. The young person who embraces a call to ministry…and another one who drifts away. Some folks seem to stay the same for decades, but they haven’t. If nothing else they have shed their actual skin a thousand times over.
I have my hands full negotiating all that change. My own physical, mental, and emotional changes…and yours. It’s exhausting, even, constantly adjusting to each other and ourselves. Everybody’s in flux. It’s part of life.
And then, Samuel (God) makes things even more complicated. He tells Saul that he’s about to be changed into “an entirely different person.” This is a holy change, a spiritual one, a change that fully aligns Saul with God, and prepares him to become King.
The scripture above even uses the word “possess”, did you notice? Yikes! This is some heavy duty interaction with God. A makeover of literally biblical proportions. Now this kind of change, you don’t see very often. In fact, I’m not sure if I ever have. My more Pentecostal friends might experience something akin to this but that’s a bit more than I’ve been part of on a Sunday morning.
I’m trying to decide–is this something I’d even want? To be totally in the thrall of God’s power and might? Rebuilding me from the bottom up to be a super servant, a prophet, a king? Would I lose sight of who I am, or just the parts of me that resist a God-filled life? I understand and respect that change is a part of life, but would I volunteer for such an experience as Saul had?
Interestingly enough, Saul’s transformation didn’t last. He changed, but then he chose to change back. He lost his connection with God and got caught up in himself. We tend to think of Saul as a “bad guy”, but really, who hasn’t resisted God’s prompts to change?
While I wholeheartedly cheer for God’s nudges for me to change, I must admit I balk at the idea of becoming “a completely different person.” I mean, doesn’t God like me the way I am? Isn’t there something inside me that is salvageable? We’re created in the image of God, after all.
Here’s my take: God has in mind something for us like my daily 6:30am transformation: A refreshing and empowering jolt of holy power that equips sleepy me to take on what’s next. My job is not to simply adjust to change, but to trust that God’s daily nudges are as natural a part of a faithful life as any of the other changes I experience.
I’m grateful God has seen me at 6:30am
-Rev. Mitch Todd
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