Radical choices

Decide today whom you will serve?
Joshua 24:15
Will you too go away?
John 6:67
Submit to one another out of reverence of Christ.
Ephesians 5:21

Today’s readings are hard.

We live in a culture where we want to keep our options open.

But Joshua and Jesus are calling us to make a decision.

“Who’s your God?” Joshua is asking: The gods of power, wealth, and pleasure or the God who rescued you from slavery?

“Will you follow me?” asked Jesus. His words are Spirit and life but Jesus offers Himself for us, He is willing to hand Himself over to death and to give Himself to us as food.

The God of Joshua is a God of freedom and justice – but freedom and justice for all, not just the freedom to the “good” and comfortable  life.

Jesus is a God of self-gift, of commitment to all, to life.

But then Paul tells the Ephesians, “Submit to one another out of respect for Christ.” This could also be translated as “Be subordinate; defer to each other; obey each other; give way to each other; be subject to each other.”

However you translate it, it is grating, challenging.

But what would the world be like if we deferred to one another, to we listened to each other (which is the etymological root of obey)?

It would be a lot different, I think. I would not be looking out for myself. I would be looking out for others, for the ways in which the Reign of God can become real for all of God’s people.

As I discern the call to the permanent diaconate, one of the concerns has been the promise of obedience involved. I have been a “free agent” for so long that “subordinating myself” to the “discipline” (or, better, “discipleship”) of the Church seems scary.

But perhaps that is what I need to open myself more to where God calls and not where I want to be.

May God give me the wisdom and the courage to make the right choice.

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