Resurrection House Blog: We can choose
When I was in high school, I was able to acolyte pretty much every week. I loved to acolyte; I loved that it gave me a role to play in the service. I loved that I was able to anticipate the needs of the celebrant, and that I knew where everything was in the sacistry. I loved wearing an alb that made me look, if I do say so myself, quite sharp.
I loved that it brought me into a fuller relationship with God as I assisted in the service and contributed to people’s worship.
I remember the Sunday that acolyting became an active choice that I made, instead of something that I fell into.
I was carrying the cross for the Gospel procession that day; and the priest was reading the Gospel. I had the words strike me, fully formed: I could do this for the rest of my life. That was the first time that I had ever articulated my call to the priest hood, and from that day onwards, I chose to serve God in that way.
So I spoke to my rector, and fortunately the assistant Bishop of New York was coming to our church in a couple of weeks for confirmation so I spoke to him as well. As I spoke to them about being called to the priesthood, they both gave me very similar advice.
“Do not,” they both said, “Major in religion.”
They went on to explain that seminary will provide a scholastic background, but If I was not called to the priesthood then I need to do very important things later in life, like buy food, so I can, you know, eat.
So I chose to attend Binghamton University to study chemistry. Binghamton was about two hours from where my family lived, which was he perfect distance. Close enough to go home for the weekend, but too far for my mom to visit without letting me know before hand.
So I attended Binghamton, and planned to take as many religion classes as possible. It turns out that Binghamton doesn’t actually offer any Christian courses. Whoops.
They did offer, however, have a robust Judaic Studies department, which was just as good. I took a phenomenal class on Genesis.
This one class, the question was asked “why did God create the world?” The answer is to have a relationship with you. To have a relationship with me, and you and each individual one of us.
They went on to say that that is also why we have free will. We have free will so that we can choose to say yes: without the ability to say no, it means nothing if we say yes.
In Ecclesiasticus the fact that we have a choice is abundantly clear. We can choose, Ecclesiasticus 5 says we have a choice follow the commandments. We have a real option of following the commandments. U can choose to covet my neighbors donkey if I so desired.
We have a choice. We can choose to follow God, and when we follow God’s commandments we ate showing God that we are choosing to be in relationship with God. Following God’s commandments is a real, outward, and visible sign of our relationship.
We can choose to be in relationship with God. We can choose to follow God’s commandments, and when we do, we have every choice in the world.