God's will

Let us pray:

O God, you willed to redeem us from all iniquity by your Son: Deliver us when we are tempted to regard sin without abhorrence, and let the virtue of his passion come between us and our mortal enemy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today I can't help but think about all the times people have talked about God's will and I objected to what they said. No, it was not God's will that my baby died in utero; it is not God's will that is the cause of anyone's misfortune or anyone's death. God does not will one group of people to annihilate another group of people (the book of Joshua notwithstanding). When I hear someone explain away something terrible with the phrase "It was God's will," I feel sick. I want to ask them, "Who taught you that? Who taught you that God wills for a child to die of leukemia or a tornado to wipe out a neighborhood or a person to be subjected to parental or spousal abuse without recourse? Because that's not a God I'm interested in worshipping." 

What God willed was our redemption. And although the collect for today certainly connects Jesus' death with our redemption, Jesus went to his death knowing that God's will was for him to stand in his integrity. God's will was for Jesus to show us that violence is not the answer and that power is to be used for healing and for good, not for greed and gain. Jesus died because the powers that be would not tolerate him breaking the boundaries and erasing the divisions and giving dignity to those who were cast aside and vilified. They willed his death. God willed for him to keep his courage and his faith that even though he would die, God would raise him to new and everlasting life. 

And in his life, death, and resurrection and ascension, Jesus brought divinity to earth and humanity to heaven and closed the gap between them. This was God's will and the virtue of Jesus's passion.

One last thought ... the phrase "deliver us when we are tempted to regard sin without abhorrence" is very striking to me. We are these days much more about "whatever" than we are about abhorrence over sin, at least our own sins. I don't think we are meant to go around daily in a state of abhorrence but I recognize the imperative to recall the need to be truly sorry and to humbly repent as we say.  I will be thinking about this more today.