The Divine Mystery exists in each of us. We are Stewards of that Mystery.
“It is so hard to believe because it is so hard to obey.”
– Søren Kierkegaard –
If, in our very best moments, we believe that there is even a trace of the Divine inside us, why do we run so resolutely from that truth we feel, that truth we know? What, on earth, are we afraid of?
Perhaps the church has contributed to this fear. Perhaps the vision of obedience to the Divine Will we have constructed inside the church looks so boring, so focused on not making a mistake, so concentrated on keeping rules we think God wants kept, that we have soured the taste for God in ourselves and those around us. Perhaps we have imperceptibly substituted, fear by reasonable fear, our idea of God for the Real Thing. The antidote to this kind of thinking is not simply boldness. Even despots can be bold. The antidote is service; service to God in whose service is perfect freedom.
We all long for freedom. Not freedom to; freedom to do whatever strikes us as enjoyable at the moment is just slavery to ourselves. We long for freedom from; from guilt, from anger, from self doubt, from every kind of insecurity, from the lies we tell ourselves. We long for that freedom and often find ourselves humming a variation of that old Mickey Gilley song, “Looking for freedom in all the wrong places.”
It is by giving ourselves back to God in the same Spirit that God has given to us that we discover freedom. When we discover that our connection to other people is what allows us to be connected to ourselves, then we start to become free. It is when we give our fears to God and our hearts to each other that we begin to see God more clearly, when we start to live in grace, when we begin to see that obedience is hard, but it’s opposite is harder.
When Jesus tells us to lose our lives in order to gain them, our natural response is to draw back. It feels reckless. Irresponsible. Lacking prudence, wisdom. We draw back, though, not because we think He is wrong, but because we know He is right.
We were made for service to God and each other. True, independence can be a blessing from God in its many forms. You and I, however, were never made to be so independent that we become independent from God and each other. Service takes many forms. Maybe we need to reframe some of what we are doing in terms of service. Maybe we need to add something to our daily fare. That is a conversation for you and God and God’s Church. What is certain is this: to obey God is to serve God…and to serve God is to be free.