Thursday, July 14, 2011

Free us for Joyful Obedience

I have had to make lots of phone calls this month, asking people if they would be willing to do this or that.  I really don’t like to make those kind of phone calls, but I have found myself doing it a lot lately.  I’m the lay director of the next Emmaus women’s walk, so many of the phone calls have been to ask community members to serve on the team.

It has been a joy to speak to everyone I’ve called, and even though not everyone can say “yes,” everyone is resting in the middle of God’s will, and we are all finding grace in the process. 

Even though I don’t like to call people to ask them to serve, I am finding joy in obedience.

There is a line in the Prayer of Confession that is part of the United Methodist Communion Liturgy that says, “Free of for joyful obedience.”  It’s one of my favorite parts of communion.

Free us for joyful obedience.

It seems like it would be a paradox – to be made free so that we can obey.  We shouldn’t be surprised, though.  We are Christians – people who have received forgiveness we do not deserve, through grace of unlimited value that we did not earn.  We follow a Lord who has died but is alive, a God who created the universe but loves us each in a personal way, and we walk with a Holy Spirit we cannot see, hear or touch, but who surrounds us with love.  We know our God in three parts, and yet our God is one.  We are mortal beings who will live forever.  Nothing should sound like a paradox – everything is beyond our imagination.  We are made free so that we can obey, and in that obedience we find joy.

We are asked to serve – in our communities, in our churches, in our families, at our places of work, and in our Emmaus Community.  We pray about service, and we try to listen to God’s call on our lives, and yet, if you are like me, there are times when I am held back from answering the way God is leading me.  What is it that prevents you from being free for obedience? 

Is it fear?  Selfishness? Worry? A lack of confidence? Unwillingness?  Unhappiness?  What is it that is keeping you from saying “yes” or “no” in obedience to God?  What does God need to free you from so that you can find the joy in obeying him? 

Perhaps we all need to make that line part of our prayers each day.  Free me for joyful obedience.

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