Main Text: Galatians 5:1, 13-25 (1 Kings 19:15-16, 19-21; Luke 9:51-62)
There is a clever commercial about a mom following her son around and telling him “no” whenever he wanted to do something that was dangerous or destructive. Then he asks for a particular snack that the commercial is portraying as healthy for the child. Now, the child wants what is good for him and the mother is able to say yes. Sometimes, I think we picture God as following us around and saying “no” to everything we want to do. What if the problem, however, is not in God saying “no” but in what we are saying “yes” to? The child in the commercial can’t see what the end of his potential decision would be, but the mom does. The mom does not want to say “no” and neither does God. Living God’s Love is not about what God says “no” to, but what God is calling us to say “yes” to in our lives. Elijah in the passages prior to this reading in 1st Kings was trapped in a cave by his own fear of the spectacular danger outside. It is God who leads him out of this cave and into a new mission. In the Gospel reading, Jesus has set his face toward Jerusalem and the cross. He tells those who want to say “yes” to following him, to set their face as well toward the fulfillment. As we come into this week that we celebrate Independence Day, we are reminded that Christ is the one that sets us free. Our freedom, however, is not just from our fear. If we live by the Spirit, we are led by the Spirit into the mission of living God’s love. Where do you hear God’s call into something? If we live by the Spirit, the Spirit gives us ability to move from fear into faith. Faith then provides God’s “yes” to our works in his name.