In the Lectionary

June 13, Ordinary 11B (1 Samuel 15:34-16:13)

God is moving on, but Samuel can’t.

It was really dead this time. Finally. I could tell when I first caught a glimpse of it sitting on the weather-checked asphalt of the Moose Lodge parking lot. It was sprawled out, horizontally, across the fading yellow lines of three spaces. Gravity had made it roll it that far, and from the way the rear end was lifted, gravity would have gladly taken it all the way to the chain-link fence at the end of the lot had the hand brake not been applied. It was the car my spouse was driving—one of two vehicles we then owned—a notoriously unreliable European machine that had a unique way of making me feel tremendous joy and regret almost simultaneously.

Purchased just before a crisis of calling pushed me into ministry, it became the car that ferried me more than 25,000 miles on trips between the seminary and my home. There and back was every part of 285 miles, much of which included twists over and around bluffs that led to scenic overlooks and sleepy little towns with churches-turned-antique stores—the kind with sale signs hand-painted on old bedroom doors.

It was that car which made the time comfortable and passable. When it was working, I would be cradled in the driver’s seat, enjoying the vehicle’s sporty feel and making hands-free calls to catch up on work. Though, given that those bluffs were lined with ore and the towns were few and far between, cellular service out there was spotty—so mostly I exchanged voicemails with people.