The Season after Pentecost is a time to reflect on God’s transforming presence, and our scriptures testify to a God who longs to lead us (and all of creation) into wholeness and peace. Yet it is not always easy to choose to follow God’s leading.
In the readings for today, as Samuel grapples with the implications of human kingship over Israel, the psalmist in Psalm 138 affirms God’s sovereignty and good rule over all. In 2 Corinthians 4:13—5:1, Paul describes our struggle to be renewed and re-created in Christ, while praising God who desires us to develop to our glorious full potential as children of God. Finally, in Mark 3:20–35, Jesus challenges assumptions of how we are to relate to one another and to God, teaching that it is God who is at the head of all of our relationships.
Today’s Old Testament story begins with the prophet Samuel already retired after serving for many years as Israel’s judge – the highest authority in a nation loosely governed by the elders of various tribes. As judge, Samuel had mediated God’s leadership over the people, but now the elders of Israel, using the moral failures of Samuel’s sons as his successor as an excuse, demand the leadership of a king instead. In the end, a reluctant Samuel heeds the people’s request and anoints Saul as king of the new monarchy. We are left with a disturbing portrait of God going along with the people’s demands even as God is aware that it is not in the best interests of the people.
Yes, God calls us to follow but gives us freedom of choice! And God also gives us a voice to use in speaking up when we believe our leaders are inappropriate or downright wrong. This is true of Christian and secular leaders.
The news this week was full of the blunders by our federal election candidates. And constant reminders of the duplicity and dishonesty in the highest ranks. Voices are raised and outcry has been heard.
- In what areas of your life do you find God leading you, and when do you resist?
- Think of some of the groups that you are involved in. Was the leadership chosen or imposed? Who participated in the selection of leaders? Who was “heard”?
- Have there been times when you have regretted remaining silent?
May God bless you in your choices in this coming week.