Saturday, September 24, 2016

We don't have to fight

I'm sighing tonight. At church today, our new deacon's homily said several times that we need to fight for our eternal salvation. Where on earth did he get that idea? I guess Paul tells us to fight the good fight of faith, but is fight the right word? I wonder if Paul's letter was translated incorrectly, or if perhaps Paul just wanted to cheer people on like we cheer on sports teams. God and fighting seem rather incongruent in my books.

God gave the world Jesus so that we might believe in him and inherit eternal life. Jesus never said anything about fighting for it. He told us to love one another, to do good, to give away things that distract us from God, to share our abundance with those who don't have enough, and to let tomorrow take care of itself. Nary a word about fighting, because God's reign doesn't require it. God gives eternal life to us all, equally, and we don't have to do anything but accept it. So fighting for it is kinda silly.

What's more important is just letting God love us, letting God give us life, not just when we die, but right now. To appreciate God's goodness and allow it to fill us to overflowing so that we have some to share with others who need it. To let God's Spirit guide us in the way that Jesus came to show us, falling in love with God instead of fighting for what's already been freely given if we only let it happen. Eternal life starts now, if we let God's love run the show.

I'm afraid I didn't really hear the deacon's homily (but I hope he was encouraging us all to look for the poor Lazaruses who people our lives, and to care for them). Instead, his idea of fighting for eternal life lost me somewhere and led me into a prayer of gratitude for not having to fight, just living my way into it. And a long lost memory came back to me of a song that I first heard when I was just starting to fall in love with God as a teenager, around the time that contemporary Christian music took off. I share that song below. No confusion, no time of tribulation required, just slowing down and waiting on the Spirit of the Lord -- who is generous beyond our belief! Happy Sunday!

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