By: Brittany Fiscus-van Rossum
1 Samuel 16:1-13
Reflection—v. 7 ‘do not look at his appearance’

This story is pretty classic disrupt-the-norm-defy-expectations God. Samuel is seeking the next king of Israel, but surprise! it’s not any of Jesse’s older, stronger, more qualified progenies, but the uninvited youngest of the bunch left to babysit the sheep! God’s choice is confoundingly not-obvious, but we’re told it is because God does not see as we appearance-obsessed mortals do. God understands the rich intricacies of a human heart for all its worth and value and judges from within. How odd then, isn’t it, that as followers of this heart-perceiving God who seeks the depths and complexities within human beings, we are so often satisfied with our face-value judgments of one another. Throughout our sacred texts God is choosing to work through, speak through, and lead through the unexpected, the marginalized, and the overlooked. We make all sorts of judgments about who can lead or serve, about whose voice has value, about who is in and who is out. To succeed or lead you must have the proper credentials and enough education. You can’t be too young, but you shouldn’t be too old either. You must dress a certain way and talk a certain way. It helps if you’re a certain gender, race, and sexual orientation too. Yet God continuously subverts our expectations and imagined regulations. Quite often God calls who we may least expect. Let us not be too hung up on appearances to miss when God is up to something new.

Prayer O God, surprise us, and let us be open-hearted enough to perceive the many people you work through every day.

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