Sunday, January 15, 2012

1 Samuel 3:1–10, (11–20); John 1:43–51

Some years ago, when I was in my first pastoral appointment, I met an 11-year-old named Victor at youth court. A friend had asked me to serve as translator for Victor's father, who spoke only Spanish, because Victor was about to be tried for shooting a child in the leg with a BB gun. Violence and trouble were part of life in Victor's neighborhood. In the Gospel of John, when Nathanael asks Philip if anything good can come out of Nazareth, he might have been talking about Victor's neighborhood or about kids like Victor.

After the jury had deliberated, Victor was given the maximum punishment of 25 hours of community service plus four jury duties at youth court. As I explained the verdict to his father, I realized that the family lived only blocks from the church I served in the urban core of our Midwestern city. It was decided that Victor would begin his community service hours at our church the next day.


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