When Moses thought that he would be the leader of Israel he met with disappointment but when God said he would it was a different matter.

“This is the same Moses whom they earlier rejected, saying, ‘Who put you in charge of us?’ This is the Moses that God, using the angel flaming in the burning bush, sent back as ruler and redeemer. He led them out of their slavery. He did wonderful things, setting up God-signs all through Egypt, down at the Red Sea, and out in the wilderness for forty years. This is the Moses who said to his congregation, ‘God will raise up a prophet just like me from your descendants.’ This is the Moses who stood between the angel speaking at Sinai and your fathers assembled in the wilderness and took the life-giving words given to him and handed them over to us, words our fathers would have nothing to do with. Acts 7:35-39 (The Message)

The Moses who fled from Egypt was a completely different person from the Moses who returned. Although he did not have confidence in his own ability and, as a result God assigned his brother Aaron as spokesman, through Moses God gave sign after sign to the people of Israel of his presence and purpose with them. It is hard to say but the same Israel that venerated the work of Moses and built their religion on his teaching rejected the one that Moses said would come after him. Stephen was refering to Jesus, of course, and his whole intention in speaking to the religious leaders so was to emphasize that their faith, and the basis of Jesus’ message, are one and the same.

I wonder if today we have the same desire to keep the integrity of our faith in the sight of others? Are we quick to distance ourselves from the hard parts of the journey for the Christian community as a whole and look for the immediate personal impact alone? Are we willing to say that, despite our commitment to a religious tradition or denomination, we will seek to give our all to follow Jesus and keep the integrity of Christian discipleship, shown here by Stephen, in the sight of those who agree with us and those that do not agree?

Peace and grace to you as you follow the faith of Jesus with integrity and place the importance of that integrity firmly front and centre in the journey. Amen.