Day 87: Judges 1-3, Psalm 73, John 7

By The Very Rev. Mark B. Pendleton
The Book of Judges tells the story of the season of change that was underway in the lives of the Israelites.  It was a frightening and unsettling time between the deaths of Moses and Joshua and before glory days of Kings David and Solomon. It is never easy to live in a time between strong leaders.

Some political commentators have asked whether leaders bring about momentous and historic times, or do events and challenges rise up and propel great leaders into fame? Is it the man (or woman) or the movement?  I believe it is the latter that prevails most often.  Winds blow, hearts stir and people find their way to leaders who arrive on the scene, inspired and dedicated, who have something to say and a path forward.

There is a great deal of conversation today about our nation, our culture, the Episcopal Church and other churches being in the midst of a season of change.

In John 7 Jesus finds himself in an in-between place and time.  Galilee was home and safe, but Judea and Jerusalem were where the action was — in this case the festival of Booths.  It was also filled with people who sought to kill Jesus.  Even in the face of this threat, Jesus’ brothers thought it might be the right time for Jesus to show his stuff for the whole world to see.  But Jesus wasn’t so sure at first.  He held back.  He waited.

When do we know it is our moment to step from behind the curtain, out of the pew, throw caution to the wind and speak out?  When do we hold back, waiting for the time to move?

How do we claim the voice and authority, as one of Christ’s own, to speak and do what Jesus himself would do?

Almighty and all compassionate God; help us to find our time, our voice and our audience to risk becoming a leader in uncertain times.   May you grant each one of us vision, hope and the thick skin that comes with the territory of taking our rightful place in the community of believers.

The Very Rev. Mark Pendleton is  Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford, Connecticut