Tag Archives: Free Will

Love of Self

Ordinary Time
January 11, 2018

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

‘All things are lawful for me’, but not all things are beneficial. ‘All things are lawful for me’, but I will not be dominated by anything. ‘Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food’, and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! –1 Corinthians 6:12-15

Here comes free will again. In this instance Paul, I think, is saying God expects us to take care of ourselves. Is this a part of Jesus’ commandment to love your neighbor as you love yourself? (Matthew 22:39) It is interesting that Paul starts his comments on fornication with a short essay on food. We probably all fail to eat properly and in general fail to take care of our bodies: exercise, get adequate sleep, drink enough water. He is saying that food is necessary for life and food can be misused. The same can be said for sex. While Paul is often sourced for being critical of homosexual behavior, a careful review of his mention of it will show he lumps it in with heterosexuality when either is being misapplied. In our society fornication including adultery is a norm for many. Overeating and eating unhealthily too are norms.

What is interesting is that both eating and sex are drivers of our economy. Would we have an obesity epidemic or widespread venereal disease, if not for greed? Both cross all our advertising senses continuously.

My Facebook account routinely carries a report of some young girl being suspended from school for wearing inappropriate clothing to school. Clothing that does not comply with the school dress code for decency. I do think females, as well as males, should dress in good taste. I also agree with those who are critical of schools for laying all the blame on girls dressing outside the code being the problem because boys just are not capable of controlling their raging hormones. Paul is saying in our scripture today that we need to control our behavior and not let the world’s interest entice us to do what is not good for us.

Prayer: Lord, at the start of a new year, enable us to care for ourselves lovingly and to love our neighbors in the same way. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

Free Will

Christmas
January 3, 2018

Scripture Reading: Psalm 29

The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
   the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
   May the Lord bless his people with peace! –Psalm 29:10-11

We saw our fair share of floods and other weather-related events in 2017. People will be working to overcome the devastation for years. We take comfort in the knowledge that the Lord will be with all those impacted by the floods and all those who are trying to help in any way they can. we seek answers to the questions that plagues us, how do we contribute to weather extremes and how can we prevent or ameliorate our participation in influences these events?

The theology of having dominion over the earth draws us into the concept of God’s gift to us of free will and how we handle it. We face the same question with many other issues. After overindulging in rich foods and not keeping my exercise routine over the recent holidays, I am facing the full weight of my failure to exercise dominion over my health and well-being.  This too is a free will issue.

I suffer from wanting to do the right thing when it is convenient for me. Practicing freewill within the boundaries of God’s love requires a good helping of intentionality. We are not like working horses who must be fitted with blinders to keep their focus on the path ahead. We are more like the quarterback or point guard who sees the entire playing field or court and must make the right decision among the many choices presented. There are more ways than one to do the right thing, to exercise the talents and gifts with which God has graced us. Remember Jesus’ story of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30).  Each servant was given resources to develop. All but one used their resources and doubled their worth. The one buried his and his gifts were taken from him and given to another to develop. Dropping the ball is not a choice.

I have no doubt that God’s will will be done. The question I must address is: am I doing my assigned role in making that happen? We live in a time when our best and most intentional efforts are demanded to bring justice into the world in which we live.

Prayer: Lord, give strength to your people and bless us with your peace as we attempt with our best efforts and intentionality to do your will. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.