Preacher: Pastor Liz Miller
Date: October 31, 2021
Text: 1 Samuel 28:3-25
Four witches you need to make a coven.
Hollywood has more, at least four dozen.
Glinda posed the question so long ago:
Are you a good witch or a bad witch?
We really must know.
Moving through time we became Bewitched
Samantha and Endora, their noses twitched.
About teen witches, there are quite a few
Louise Miller, The Craft, and Sabrina come through.
You never want to cross sister witches
Charmed and Hocus Pocus will leave you in stitches.
Harry Potter wouldn’t live without witchy strong women
Hermione, McGonagall, and mom Lily, a given.
Disney has a few to add to the crew
Ursula, Malificent, and perhaps Elsa, too?
Literature is enraptured with their type
From Circe to the White Witch, authors get the hype.
Double, double, toil and trouble
Shakespeare’s witches caused a scuttle
“This is church,” you say, “What’s it got to do?
Witches in scripture? It can’t be true!”
But in the book of 1 Samuel, tucked way deep,
A witch from Endor surely did creep.
Witchcraft was outlawed, afraid of such power,
Losing her art must have made her sour.
King Saul was desperate, for God did not speak,
And answers to his future he wanted to seek.
So to Endor he went, and in a disguise.
For protection he brought along two of his guys.
“Hey witchy woman, I need your help!
Raise the one who ruled when I was a whelp.”
“Not I,” said the witch “I’ll do no such thing!
Haven’t you heard I’ve been banned by the King?”
“You have my word, I do solemnly swear,
No punishment will come from this secret affair.”
“I trust you, stranger. And who shall I bring?
Give me a name. Let’s get on with this thing.”
He said “Samuel,” and the seance started.
The witch committed to her craft wholehearted.
“What do you see?” Saul trembled with fear.
“An old man in a robe, been dead many a year.”
Saul knew it was Samuel, and bowed to the ghost
King to king, man to man, no more pride left to boast.
Samuel from the grave began to grouse,
“Why have you disturbed me, you rotten louse?”
“Help me, King! I am in great distress!
The war is bad and God abandoned me, more or less.
I summoned you here to tell me what to do.
Will peace come at last or is it likely a coup?”
“It’s not me you should ask, but instead Lord God.
Unfortunately, your future is tragically flawed.
You’ve disobeyed and made God your enemy.
To your misdeeds there can be no remedy.
Your land you will lose, it will all go to David,
Your fate decided by Philistines, whom you’ve always hated.”
Saul cried out, “NoooooooooOOOOOoooooooo!”
and fell to the ground.
His future was doomed. He would be uncrowned.
On the floor there he lay, too weak to go on,
Famished and tired, no strength left to yawn.
The witch leaned over and poked at him,
“So much terror for a king. This is certainly grim.”
“Listen here,” She proclaimed, “I have done what you asked.
I called up the spirit who gave that forecast.
Now you follow me, do what I say.
Please eat this morsel, and go on your way.”
He refused, wouldn’t budge, said, “I will not eat.
I might as well stay, I’m already dead meat.”
The witch sighed deep and turned to his friends,
“Prop Saul on up the bed before he gets the bends.”
To her kitchen she went, to make a sacrifice.
A fatted calf prepared with a side of rice.
Just kidding, no rice! It is bread that she bakes.
Cooked to perfection, round unleavened cakes.
“Eat Saul,” she said, handing him her best,
Hoping good food would help him feel blessed.
He ate. He revived. He got up, though still weary.
The trip back home would surely be dreary.
But left he did, full and on his way.
The witch stayed behind, enough adventure for one day.
Thus ends the story of the witch of Endor,
Her name lost to time because of her gender.
What can we learn from this wise old witch?
Her story is short but truly quite rich.
The king caste her out until it suited his needs
Power and privilege over compassion leads.
What, if anything, did they truly have to fear?
From witches and wizards and all whom they smeared?
The witch did no evil, she used power for good
To help a distraught man, like anyone would.
Saul rejected God, went off his own way,
Only the witch’s spell brought the truth to bay.
You might say ’twas the witch that turned Saul toward God;
Opened his eyes to see he was a fraud.
When Saul was at his weakest, it was she who took pity
Cooked for and fed him, sent him back to the city.
It’s a fine lesson in hospitality.
(Not to mention a little morality.)
Stop being afraid of people that seem scary
It’s prejudice and hate that makes you wary
When you are in need of help or a rest,
The person you cast out may be the best.
Three cheers for the witchy woman of Endor.
I hope when you think of her, your heart will be tender.