As a lyricist, the deeper meaning of words fascinates me. As I pondered the Scripture readings, the word ‘decide’ jumped out at me. The root of the word ‘decide’ means to cut off all other possibilities. That’s what I hear the Word asking us today. Don’t walk the fence when it comes to our commitment to the Lord– say Yes and mean it. And don’t wait – “decide today whom you will serve.”
As a newly engaged man, the second reading from Paul today tells me my “Yes” to God means that I will love my future bride by laying my life down for her now and always. She is called in the Scripture to support me in that mission. That has meant choosing chastity, choosing faithfulness, supporting each other in the missions God has given each of us even though it means we are frequently separated from each other when I am on the road and she is away at med school. Laying down my life for my bride began long before I knew whom God had chosen for my future wife. Each ‘yes’ to deciding to serve the Lord prepared me to lay down my life.
That’s not always easy. Is committing to the Lord worth it? The Psalm response reminds us that God performs great miracles, protects us on the journey, hears us and rescues us from distress and saves those crushed in spirit. I certainly hang on to those words – serving God doesn’t mean that life will be perfect. Despite repairs, our band vehicle has broken down every time we’ve been out since November. Though it can be frustrating to serve the Lord when obstacles occur, I’ve learned that my faith is in God, not events. Experiencing how amazing God is convinces me to keep deciding that Jesus is the way. I think that’s what Peter was saying in the Gospel today. Jesus’ teaching about His body and blood is impossible to believe without faith. So many walked away from him after that teaching. If you are reading this, it isn’t by accident – don’t walk away! Jesus has intentionally invited you to receive life – his life which strengthens us to serve Him.
We are called to serve by following His example to lay down our lives – to love the church (and we all are the church) as He did.
So I challenge you – Decide today whom you will serve (who will you lay your down your life for). God is inviting each one of us to decide now to cut off all options but one. “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” I pray daily to decide as Peter did and say to Jesus: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.
Have a blessed week….Lee Roessler