5-8-15 - Chosen

Most people like to be chosen, right? Whether it’s for a team in grade school, a dance in high school, a job, an award, a date, it makes us feel good to be seen and selected (when there’s nothing creepy involved, that is…). But being chosen is somewhat passive – we can’t ensure being picked, as hard as we might try to be the best candidate.

That makes some people more comfortable being the chooser, even choosy. That puts us in control. Freedom of choice is a huge value in American life (so much so that I consider it un-American to be told I cannot have a Diet Coke in places where Pepsi has secured an exclusive contract!) We champion the right to choose our jobs, spouses, healthcare and reproduction, even gender. And, of course, freedom of choice is a core value for all human life and interaction.

Jesus’ disciples thought they chose to follow him. He didn’t compel them – he came along and said, “Follow me.” They made that choice, often at great cost to their families and communities. So imagine their surprise to hear Jesus say that’s not the way it happened:
“You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.” (This Sunday's gospel passage is here.)

Did Jesus really choose this motley crew of hard-headed, occasionally thick-headed men and women? Maybe he should have used a head-hunter. Or maybe Jesus has different values than we do. Maybe this mixed up group was just exactly who he wanted to graduate as his first team of apostles. And maybe he has chosen us for the same reason, because he believes that we too are gifted and lovable, capable of bearing fruit, abundant fruit that will endure.

Do you feel chosen by God to be a follower of Jesus Christ? Or did it feel like something you chose, or someone else chose for you? There has to be an element of response on our part; we’re not puppets. I believe it is the realization of being chosen that elicits a response in us. That’s how it works when two people are courting. And this relationship with Jesus is more love story than job selection process.

How do you respond to being chosen by God?
Does it affect the way you live your faith?
And how does knowing God’s desire for us is fruitfulness affect the way you live your faith?

The fruitfulness and the chosen-ness go together, I think. We cannot make ourselves fruitful any more than we can get ourselves chosen. When we let in the mystery and wonder of how precious we are to God, that God would choose us to participate in God’s great mission of reclaiming, restoring and renewing all of creation to wholeness in Christ – that knowledge of our chosen-ness generates a desire in us to bear fruit in that mission, the fruit of lives transformed and hearts opened.

Our hearts become opened by the awareness of Love, and then we bear the fruit of Love into the lives around us, as God's transforming power works through us as Jesus promised.

That is how we see fruit that will last.

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