Worship for Sunday 2nd June 2024, by Rev. Caroline Wickens

Listening to God with Samuel

Invitation to Worship

God calls the small,

 and helps them do great things.

God calls the weak,

and reveals their hidden gifts.

God calls the rejected,

and opens their eyes to their worth.

Here we are Lord.

Shine the light of your love on us.

Kindle your Spirit within us.

Work your redeeming will in us,

that all the world may be one

through the power of your love. 


Hymn: StF 706  Longing for light, we wait in darkness

Longing for light, we wait in darkness
Longing for truth, we turn to You.
Make us Your own, Your holy people
Light for the world to see.

Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in Your church gathered today.

Longing for peace, our world is troubled
Longing for hope, many despair.
Your word alone has power to save us.
Make us your living voice.

Christ, be our light!

Longing for food, many are hungry
Longing for water, many still thirst.
Make us Your bread, broken for others
Shared until all are fed.

Christ, be our light!

Longing for shelter, many are homeless
Longing for warmth, many are cold.
Make us Your building, sheltering others
Walls made of living stone.

Christ, be our light!

Many the gifts, many the people
Many the hearts that yearn to belong.
Let us be servants to one another
Making Your kingdom come.

Christ, be our light!

Words & music © 1993 Bernadette Farrell


God of mystery and of power,

nothing is hidden from you, to you all things are plain.

Your might and your strength are beyond all comparison.

Your love is greater than words can say.

You call us Lord to a closer walk with you.  

You guide us into the paths that you have chosen in your wisdom.

You speak in unexpected places, and with unexpected voices, God.
And we aren’t always sure how to listen. We aren’t always sure who to listen to.
We aren’t always sure if we’re really hearing you.
Be blunt with us, please. Be clear.
Give us the challenge
of loving you,
of loving each other,
of loving ourselves.
And help us to live it out!
Because you are God who loves us all, even when we don’t know where to turn.
In Jesus’ name we ask it. Amen!

Reading: 1 Samuel 3:1 – 10

3 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 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.

10 Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’

Hymn: StF 161   Speak, O Lord, as we come to you

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of your holy word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfil in us
All Your purposes, for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility.
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise
Cause our eyes to see,
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of power that can never fail;
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us.
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time,
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises;
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, ’til your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

Stuart Townend & Keith Getty Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music


In the writings around A Methodist Way of Life, Roger Walton tells the story of a couple out walking in a busy city street. Suddenly one stops. ‘I can hear a cricket’, he says. ‘Don’t be ridiculous’, says the other. ‘How can you hear a single insect in all this noise?’ But the first is busy checking a bush – and there is the cricket, chirping away. ‘I grew up with that sound’, he says. Then he takes a coin from his pocket and drops it on the pavement, and suddenly ten heads turn. ‘I guess we hear the sounds we are most attuned to’, he says, as he returns the coin to its place.

Samuel heard a sound which he thought was familiar. His mother Hannah had dedicated him to God’s service in the Temple when he could just walk, and he was growing up under the care of Eli, the old priest. Hearing a voice in the night, Samuel assumed Eli needed him – he heard the sound he was expecting. Eli was also unprepared for the Lord to speak, so rare in those times. Was the boy having nightmares? It was the Lord’s persistence that finally broke through, opening the way for a new ministry and a new chapter in Israel’s history.  

Samuel’s encounter with the Lord was demanding. He found himself needing to move on from what he knew and pay attention to this unexpected, unfamiliar voice. He took the risk of saying to this mysterious night-time calling ‘Speak, for your servant is listening’. The story of faith is full of people who have taken the same risk of attending to God’s unexpected call. For some, this has meant abandoning home and family, but for many (like Samuel) it is an invitation to stay where you are but to say, do and be something different.

Samuel’s encounter with God demanded openness and courage. He was no longer the little altar-boy. He was becoming God’s chosen prophet, and his relationship with Eli and everyone else around him was changing. The message God gave him was not comfortable or reassuring. It spoke of God’s anger at Eli, who was doing nothing to stop his sons exploiting temple worshippers. Yet from somewhere, Samuel found the courage to tell Eli about what God had said to him.

We belong to a God who sees far more in us than we recognise for ourselves. Beyond our day-to-day lives, God is alert to all the potential that lies within us. For God, Samuel was far more than a little boy. For God, you and I are far more than the people we understand ourselves to be. So God’s unexpected call comes to us, as it came to Samuel, inviting us into a future of doing God’s will. We too need to be open to God’s presence and courageous enough to attend to God’s life-changing word to us. This may seem hard – but as Jesus’ disciples, we can find the confidence and trust in God to say ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening’.


Creator of Light,
our world needs You.
Shine into the hearts of all people,
that everyone might know Your magnificence.

Shine into the homes of people who are abused and controlled.
Bring to wholeness those whose lives have been shattered by physical and emotional abuse.
Encourage those who are walking through broken relationships,
and assure them that You have not abandoned them.
Fill their hearts and minds with the promise of Your love.

Shine into the lives of those afflicted by mental or physical illness.
Bring to wholeness those who are perplexed and confused.
Grant compassion to carers and families.
Fill their hearts and minds with the promise of Your love.

Shine into communities bombed and terrorised.
Transform minds full of hatred that they may learn to long for peace.
Heal the hurts of generations, past and future.
Assure your peoples of your generous forgiveness.
Fill their hearts and minds with the promise of your Love.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory

For ever and ever, Amen.

Hymn: StF 545   Be thou my vision

  1. Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
    Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
    Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
    Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
  2. Be Thou my wisdom, and Thou my true word;
    I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
    Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
    Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
  3. Be Thou my battle shield, sword for the fight;
    Be Thou my dignity, Thou my delight;
    Thou my soul’s shelter, Thou my high tower:
    Raise Thou me heavenward, O power of my power.
  4. Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
    Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
    Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
    High King of Heaven, my treasure Thou art.
  5. High King of Heaven, my victory won,
    May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
    Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
    Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Irish, eighth century, translated by Mary Elizabeth Byrne (1880 – 1931)

Closing Prayer

Listen for the voice of the Lord and follow wherever it leads.

Offer yourselves as a dwelling-place for the Holy Spirit.

And may God be with you and speak through you;
May Christ Jesus be one with you and raise you to life;
And may the Holy Spirit dwell within you and make you holy.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord, in the name of Christ. Amen.


Material drawn from the Church of Scotland’s weekly worship, RootsontheWeb, and re:worship