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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dan Peeler
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Minister for Children and Families Devotion Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 1 Samuel 2.1 - Dan Peeler - Minister for Children and Families - Dallas - Cathedral of Hope UCC Dallas Texas

Hannah prayed and said, “My heart is grateful in the Lord; my strength is exalted in my God.” 1 Samuel 2.1

A Word of Hope
Hannah sings her psalm in gratitude for the birth of a long awaited child and concludes in joyful thanksgiving for the birth of a new spirit in her nation. Indeed her infant son would one day grow up to be the great Prophet Samuel whose leadership would re-create his people. On Sundays, as the church’s children overflow the Children’s Chapel, their smiling faces often remind me of faithful Hannah’s optimism.

As in the Christian tradition of the Celts, Hannah had found in her son one of her “thin places,” joyfully expressing her overflowing gratitude to a personal and present God. The Celts taught that God is in fact present in everything, but that as we experience the trials and disappointments of life, we gradually build an invisible, but thick barrier between ourselves and our Creator. Yet, in the same way that we sometimes speak of having a “soft spot” in our hearts, these thick barriers contain a number of thin places that are unique to each individual. Thin places can be places in our spirits; connecting profoundly to an act of kindness or the hearing of God’s voice in a word of hope from a friend They can also be visual stimulants such as the innocent and inquisitive faces of our children.

Hanna’s thin place was private, inspired by an answered prayer for a child, but on occasions like Sundays in Children’s Church, finding a thin place can be a collective experience, not just for me, but for the other teachers who serve with me. After some of our weeks’ events when many of our thick barriers to God were made up of economic woes, depressing news reports and job pressures, the sight of our congregation’s children can empower all of us to understand Hanna’s enthusiasm for a new hope; a spirit that would re-create her people.

Thank you for the faces of children and the faith of a child that re-creates us.

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