1 Samuel, Children, King David

Practicing Innovation

Light Princess at Graduation This morning I will drive a child to Renowned Middle
School for the last time. Light Princess celebrated the official end of her career there yesterday, and this morning she will go in — an option for 8th graders — to help her favorite teachers pack up their classrooms for the summer.

Since I moved to this house in 1998, I've had a
child at King for 8 out of 11 years: 2 on, 2 off, 3 on, 1 off, 3 on. I've been
to band concerts and awards assemblies and culminating events. I've learned the
principles of Expeditionary Learning and wished I had been able to study things
as holistically as the students there do. I've marveled at how a school
population including so many English Language Learners can be so cohesive and
inclusive. I've been surprised over and over again at the innovative practices
of the principal, who at first glance one might write off as a stolid white guy
of a certain age.

Appearances can be deceiving.
In 1 Samuel 16:1, the prophet receives instructions
from God:
The LORD said to Samuel, "How long will you
grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your
horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have
provided for myself a king among his sons."
Samuel resists this idea. It will get him in
trouble with the sitting King Saul. Also, a king among the sons of Jesse?
In what amounts to a beauty pageant, the sons of
Jesse pass before Samuel, who stands waiting to anoint the one to whom God
points. He might have assumed, in that culture, that it would be the eldest, and
if not the eldest then the tallest or the strongest or the fiercest. But that is
not to be, and even after seven sons have passed by, the Lord has not given
Samuel the signal.
He asks, "Have you any other sons?"
This part always reminds me of


, when the
prince comes with the shoe and must ask if there are any other young ladies in
the house.

Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all your sons here?"
And he said, "There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep." And
Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he
comes here."
He sent and brought him in.
Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The LORD said, "Rise
and anoint him; for this is the one."
(1 Samuel 16:11-12)
He had beautiful eyes.

We must never forget that God practices innovation.
God brings together surprising people for amazing purposes. God chooses new ways of being for us.

Remember this when people tell you things have always been a certain way. Remember the youngest son called in from the fields, where he was keeping the sheep.

This Sunday we'll have my favorite Hebrew Bible story, David's amazing encounter with Goliath. After dramatizing it the past two go-rounds, complete with swords and Pure Luck playing the giant and falling to the floor in the sanctuary, victim of those five smooth stones from the wadi, I'm not sure how to approach it.

It seems to be time for an innovative practice.

5 thoughts on “Practicing Innovation”

  1. I do love the details of that story… his ruddy complexion, his beautiful eyes. Feels like a set-up for the love affair with Jonathan…

  2. what a fun reflection… don’t we all feel like cinderella or david at times… last to be chosen, no one wanted them… but finally they were called for some pretty big stuff. *sigh* yep.

  3. We also had an 8th grade celebration… still marveling that it is possible to have children in high school and college. who me?
    Congrats to your fam!

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