On a January morning 18 years ago this very weekend, I preached my first sermon in an Episcopal Church. It was at St. Francis in Holden, and Melissa and I had been working as the youth leaders there for a few years. If you know a thing or two about the lectionary, you’ll be able to figure out that the readings we heard this morning had also been read on that day. And on that morning I was telling the congregation for the first time that I had entered into the discernment process to see whether or not I was called to become a priest.
The choir did a delightful little anthem on that day about the call of Samuel which included the rector’s son who was about 9 at the time. Graham lay on the ground pretending to be asleep as the choir told the story in song. At the point when the choir sang “Samuel, Samuel,” he dutifully got up acting rather groggy and ran over to the person playing the role of Eli. The song ended with Graham wonderfully singing in a boy’s soprano voice, “Speak Lord for your servant is listening.”