Sermon – July 27, 2014
The Rev. Rebecca S. Myers, CSW
Evensong, Washington National Cathedral
Proper 12, Year Two
‘Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.’ Joshua 24:15
Choice…We have so many choices in this country. Years ago, my family hosted a young adult from Chile. It was clear he was pretty well off. His family had servants. We took him to the grocery store and he was overwhelmed by the choices available. Actually, sometimes I am too. There was nothing like our grocery stores where he was from. We have come to expect lots of choices and lots of freedom to choose in our lives.
Today in this reading, Joshua asks the Israelites to choose which God they will serve. We hear a summary of the many wonderful things the LORD has done, including bringing them into the promised land. The LORD has been faithful. The LORD has fulfilled the promises made to the ancestors and that is clearly evident. Joshua makes a good case for choosing The LORD. Yet, The LORD has made it clear to Joshua that the people must choose for themselves.
How amazing that we have God who gives us the freedom of choice. How amazing to have God who trusts us to choose; God who’d rather have our freely given and chosen devotion and love, than a mandatory relationship.
And these many thousands of years later, the question rings out to us. Whom will you choose to serve?
And once again, we have many choices…money, selfish desires, property. Making the choice can be challenging and difficult. And how can we know whom we are serving? One way to know who I’m serving was taught to me long ago. It was suggested I look at who could control my actions.
In my own life, 8 years ago, I had a job I absolutely loved. I loved the work, the person I worked for, the organization I worked for, living in Washington, DC and I loved the salary. Then I heard God calling me to go to seminary! I cried and cried for about a week. I wrestled with God. “Please don’t make me leave this job I love and this place I love living,” I pleaded. I faced a choice of serving God or serving my own gods of money, city, politics, and self will.
Now, I don’t believe God would have punished me if I had refused to go to seminary. I experience God’s voice to me as consistent and inviting…Come this way…Follow me. And in my life, choosing God has ended up being amazing and I was grateful for seminary and I am grateful to have been serving as a priest in Kentucky and I rejoice on this the anniversary of my ordination. I rejoice and am grateful for having freely chosen to follow the LORD.
God is inviting us today to make a choice. “Whom will you serve?”, God asks. May we all join with Joshua in saying, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”