Both/And

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O God, because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts.

- From this week’s collect.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? That famous riddle is a pretty good description of the both/and nature of the Christian faith. We are called to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our mind and with all our soul and with all our strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are also taught, however, that without God we can do nothing. Which comes first, our actions or God’s help?

God’s grace is something granted to us by God, but it has two sides. There’s a famous image of God’s grace, which says that grace is like the wind in our sails, without which we cannot move. But there’s also a kind of grace that is like the way we set the sail in response to the wind. We wouldn’t move much, either, if we did not set the sails. God gives us both the wind and the ability to set the sail - that is grace.

I guess in short, to resolve this riddle, our faith assures us that everything begins and ends with God. I mean, God created chickens AND eggs, not just chickens OR eggs. God gave us ourselves, our lives, our neighbors and this world. To love it all means we’re loving God, and our love originated in God and therefore is of God. God is in the wind, God is in the boat, the sails and our hands and our reason and skill. All our actions are an expression of God, and God is working through all our actions.

In the life of faith everything we are and everything we do are both expressions of God and an opportunity to thank and praise God. Grace upon grace upon grace. Is it possible to turn our backs on God and go it alone? I think we often think it is. But in the end, God is what is. The great I am. So why not dance with God while you’ve still got life and breath?

Our readings for this Sunday are HERE. Note that during ordinary time, we are using the readings in Track 2