The Audacious Call: A Sermon on Hannah in 1 Samuel

Sermon given at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Austin, Texas on November 18th, 2018.

Text: 1 Samuel 1:4 – 20, 2:1 – 10

“There is no Holy One like the Lord,

no one besides you;

there is no Rock like our God.”


For as foreign a story as our Old Testament reading feels at first glance – a family with two wives, and yearly visits to the Temple to sacrifice animals that then become a sacred meal – for as foreign as all of this can feel, there is something achingly familiar in the story of this woman who wants, more than anything, to have a child.

Year after year, Hannah, and her husband Elkanah, and his other wife, Penninah, and her many children, go to the Temple to make sacrifices. Going to the Temple as a family was a time carved out to be particularly close to God, and a time that was marked by a special meal – not so unlike our own Thanksgiving holiday. And every year, as the family made the trek Penninah would mercilessly mock Hannah for her lack of children – not so unlike family dynamics at the dinner table during Thanksgiving. Continue reading

Happy Easter?

I officially received the weirdest, most Dursley-esque gift ever bestowed upon me via the United States mail. From no one other than my own mother.

This story, however, needs a preface; one, you are undoubtedly unsurprised by, having to do with cats. My two cats, Eli and Picasso, are experiencing their first proper North Carolina spring at present, with Picasso’s first birthday this past week and Eli’s sometime in June (we think). As such, they are shedding LIKE CRAZY. Want to wear black? Forget it, you’ll be peppered in orange kitty fur so quickly you might as well be going out for Halloween dressed as a Flintstone. To combat the sheen of tangerine fluff covering every tangible surface of the house, my mom has taken to working a combination of lint rollers, in varying widths, overtime. But instead of using it on her garments (and mine) exclusively, she’s taken it to the source: she’s resorted to lint-rolling the cats. Multiple times a day.

Before you hail out animal cruelty and start waving the PETA banner,* a disclaimer: the cats ADORE this. Eli positively convulses with purring delight at being de-furred in this manner. And even with the roller treatment, they still shed more than hobbits in summertime. If they weren’t the deities whom i worship loves of my life, they’d be positively disgusting.

And, in case you need proof of healthy and purrrfect kitties, here are photos from spring break:

picasso, the lone centurion.

eli, mesmerized by the out-of-frame lint roller. really.

(Really, i’ve just been waiting for an excuse to post these!)

All of this to say, i really miss my cats. When i landed in Raleigh in March at the commencement of my spring holiday, one of the first things my brother said to me was “You really miss the cats more than us, don’t you?” To which i promptly responded, “Well i can hardly talk to the cats on the phone, now can i?” Strictly speaking, this isn’t exactly true. My mom occasionally holds the phone up to the cats while i coo at them from the nor’east. They probably look as baffled as you do, dear reader.

But my mom, who has accommodated all my weirdness since utero, misses the cats when she is away perhaps more acutely than i do.

It is for this reason she sent me the officially weirdest, most Dursley-esque gift, amidst a haul of chocolate and eggs, ever beknownst to mcmizzies anywhere:

Yep. That is exactly what you think it is. A sheet of lint paper with cat hair on it.

I come from a weird place, friends.

Happy Easter/Passover?

current jam: ‘out on the town’ fun.

best thing in my life right now: chocolate reeses easter eggs and mashed potatoes with friends in homes.

*unless, of course, the kind of peeta we’re talking about is the josh hutcherson kind. this provided, wave on comrades. wave on.