Fourth Week of Lent: “Where He Leads, I Will Follow”
This reflection is part of a series of Lenten reflections from United Methodist Women members and Women’s Division staff to accompany you to Easter. See other reflections.
1 Samuel 16:1-13, Psalm 23, Ephesians 5:8-14 and John 9:1-41
Sometimes the obvious is really not so obvious, and what we want to hear or see may not be what is best for the future. In 1 Samuel 16:1-13, Samuel didn’t want to anoint a new king, and he certainly did not plan to choose the youngest and smallest of the sons of Jesse. He was looking for another Saul – someone tall, strong and a hero of the community. He was looking for a born leader. But Samuel listened and followed what God told him to do, anointing the shepherd boy David. David had unique experiences that had shown him a life of dependence on God, and had also show him all of the natural things God provided when he served as a shepherd. Samuel followed where he was led.
A few years ago, I visited the Christian Church of North Korea, and I remember the pastor and his preaching on Ephesians 5:8-14. He called the congregation to live a life in the light of Jesus – not to walk in darkness. He challenged his congregation to seek the light and let it shine so others would see that light. I have since that time thought how hard it must be to let your light shine so that others may see it, in a country where it is not easy to be a follower of Jesus. At the close of that service we sang the hymn “Where He Leads Me.” These are the words to that hymn: “I can hear my Savior calling, …‘Take thy cross and follow, follow me.’ Where he leads me I will follow, where he leads me I will follow, where he leads me I will follow; I’ll go with him all the way. I’ll go with him through the garden…I‘ll go with him through the judgment…He will give me grace and glory…and go with me all the way.”
Where are we being led to take the cross and follow? Is this a call to end the suffering of children around the world? Today, treatment of children is worse then ever before. Many children are exploited as soldiers and slaves. Health care for the smallest and youngest is often minimal or even nonexistent. Street children are beaten and no one is there to help, or even to see them.
Are we being called to take up the cross and follow to new walls that have been built to keep people in – and out of – places where they want to work and live? Are we being called to stand with those who want peace, while governments continue only to see war?
When United Methodist Women stood for a “Free Palestine” in Washington, D.C., in front of the Capitol and marched in the streets with banners, we were going with him all the way. And when women from across the country stood with homeless people in Nashville to remember a woman who had been murdered, we were going with him all the way. And when we marched and stood with immigrants who voiced their right to work here, we were going with him all the way. And when we stood for fair wages for workers, we were with him all the way. And when we supported health care for all children, we were with him all the way.
“Where he leads me I will follow, where he leads me I will follow, where he leads me I will follow; I’ll go with him all the way.”