getting out the Word

the 6th sunday of easter

the PRAYER …

O God, you have prepared for those who love you joys beyond understanding. Pour into our hearts such love for you that, loving you above all things, we may obtain your promises, which exceed all we can desire; through Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


[Jesus said:] “You did not choose me but I chose you.”
john 15:9-17


I guess I shouldn’t be surprised … that the defining characteristic of the church here in the United States is freedom! After all, this is the “sweet land of liberty,” right? No one can make us do anything we don’t want to do! Rugged individualism, we call it! The John Wayne, Gary Cooper kind! And it’s the lens through which we look at everything … even god! Freedom’s Jesus standing at the door knocking! Freedom’s Jesus softly and tenderly calling! Freedom’s Jesus patiently waiting for us to let him in!

But sometimes, maybe we’re a bit too American for our own good. And our patriotism just might blur parts of faith we Americans would rather forget. Like John 15:16. “You didn’t choose me but I chose you!” We hear the words and we fidget. Squirm. We try our hardest to make them say what we want to hear. But when we can’t, we do the next best thing. We ignore ‘em. Pretend they don’t exist. Hope they’ll go away. Unfortunately for us, the foundation of faith isn’t liberty. And it’s not freedom. It’s love! Jesus doesn’t knock … and and Jesus wait … and Jesus doesn’t plead… Jesus, simply, does what needs doing … and we’re the better for it! It’s called predestination! Our life with god predetermined! Foreordained! And it’s the complete and total opposite of freewill! And given a choice between the two – if I had a choice – between freedom and predestination, between liberty and love – I’ll choose love, every time!