This is a blog that I post to several times a week although not necessarily daily. These reflections are triggered by the scripture found in the lectionary used by many Christian denominations. While I am part of the Catholic tradition, these posts are not --or rarely--sectarian. I try to put myself in the space of a of Jesus Christ and listen to words that come to me as I read and pray the scriptures. Each post also includes a photograph. These rarely have any connection to the content of the post but are simply pleasing images that I capture as I make my pilgrimage through life.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

God's will...exactly what does that mean?

Post Thanksgiving in Crocker Park, Westlake OH
21-23 “Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’
24-25 “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on.  Matthew 7   The Message translation.
I hear a lot about God's will especially when bad or difficult things happen; things like death, illness, failure, disgrace.   It seems that God has a plan for each of us and in these particular cases that plan called for death, illness, failure, disgrace.  So just accept God's will and get on with life or whatever is left of it.  This is not the God's will that Jesus talked about over and over again in the scriptures.

In the passage above, Jesus says that doing things that seem miraculous or religiously exemplary is not what he is talking about.  "Doing what my Father wills" is all that counts.  You can see the problem with thinking that "God's will" is something that God causes to happen in our lives when Jesus says quite clearly that it is up to us to do God's will.  Further doing God's will is foundational.  Nothing else really matters...at all.
The Divine One does not have a plan for each of us but the Divine One does have a mission for each of us.  It is a mission that we are to seek to achieve in our lives in every way, every day, no matter what is happening to us or around us.  This mission is the will of the Divine One for us, not all those bad or difficult things that happen to us or around us.

And what is that will, that mission?  Here is how Jesus expressed it.

37-40 Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”  Matthew 22  The Message translation
So the next time you hear someone talk about God's will in that first way, remind yourself that the will of the Divine One is a mission statement for your life.  It is something you are called to enact in your life life with the grace of the Divine One and not something that the Divine One inflicts on us.  When we say in the Our Father, "thy will be done" remind yourself that we are praying that we enact the Divine One's great desire for us in our lives.

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