Pathways through Lent

Following Jesus, even in Washington?

by Laura Ballman

The Second Saturday of Lent

Jeremiah 5:20-31 Psalms 23, 27, 75, 76 Romans 3:19-31 John 7:1-13

In John 7:1-13, Jesus and his followers demonstrate critical thinking and practical prudence, both of which help maintain their spiritual callings. Specifically, security concerns following a spate of His public testimony force Jesus to postpone traveling to the feast of the tabernacles in Galilee; consequently, His followers go ahead without Him and struggle to maintain their faith. None even dare speak publicly about Jesus for fear of retribution. Yet they continue to follow Him quietly and with faith.

Clearly, following Christ was difficult when He walked the Earth⎯and I don’t think it’s any easier today for those of us who are human and, as such, are to some degree always concerned about public image, popularity, and cultural norms. But perhaps this tension and ensuing struggle to stay true to one’s Christian values in the face of unpopularity and potential derision is useful. Perhaps it is especially useful in Washington, to which so many of us flock to change the world and quickly discover that pursuing our Christian beliefs and intentions is futile without some critical thinking, smart timing, and prudent, practical attention to security, bureaucracy, and other facets of realpolitik.

Galilee today
Galilee today is a bit more tranquil. (Photo by Mike Angell)

In sum, I think John 7:1-13 reminds Christians that the real world and the spiritual world are not mutually exclusive. Ergo the practicality associated with our daily lives does not have to diminish our faith or commitment to follow Christ.



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