Sunday's Lectionary: Acts 10:44-48, 1 John 5:1-6, John 15:9-17
The sermon “Falling in Love” literally erupted from me. The Holy Spirit nudged me to speak candidly about the nature of pastoral ministry. How that ministry evolves as one abides in Jesus.
At the Haven, this created discussion about how we are individually called by God. As in John 15, are we literally to lay our life on the line, as did Jesus? Because at one point in the sermon, it says: “Abiding in Jesus means we will have the courage to fall in love. And then things begin to change: they become easier, more straightforward. We doubt ourselves less, even love ourselves more as those who belong to Christ.” Does this kind of talk coincide with the scripture passages? How can life be easier if we are being asked to lay down our life for another? So, we talked about personal journeys with God, about our own journey and calling. Do we wander through life thinking we have to sacrifice everything, including our self-esteem, or our right to a fulfilling life? Do we have to stay in relationships that thwart our ability to be contented, much less happy?
In the words of a friend of mine, as we spoke of the sacrificing of Jesus’ life, she sagely said, “That was Jesus’ journey. Ours is allowed to be ours.” I shared this at the Haven today. It helped. We are disciples, but we are gifted spiritually and in personality, for different callings. As Christians, we have to be willing to take the road that is ahead of us. Óscar Romero was an archbishop in San Salvador. In the beginning of his parish ministry he aligned himself with the rhetoric of the government; then he began to see the cost of such rhetoric on the people. “He spoke out against poverty, social injustice, assassinations, and torture.” Romero was shot and killed during the celebration of Sunday Mass. His death was surely unnatural, but not an unexpected, outcome of going against government powers in El Salvador during the 1970’s. Romero’s calling was to speak out in that time and place specific to him.
The readings ask us to be aware of the love we are called to abide in, which is solely that of Christ’s. Our journey is to abide in Jesus in the time and place specific to us. By abiding in Jesus, keeping him close, we will more naturally understand what is being asked of us, on a daily basis, and as life unfolds. No question, this takes a lot of faith.
 Wikipedia, “Oscar Romero,” accessed May 7, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Óscar_Romero