2nd Week of Easter (M)
No one chooses to be born. No one chooses their parents. We do not choose the time and place of our birth. Existentialists philosophers bemoan the fact that we are “thrown into being” and left to deal with the reality of having no choice in the matter. They say we are brought into the world naked and screaming and, if we are lucky, we leave it naked and at peace. The time between birth and death is our time to choose. To make choices about who and what we will be in the time we have. For those choices, we are radically, irrevocably responsible and there lies the source of our sometimes crippling anxiety. One way to soothe our worries is to take control and steer circumstances to our liking. Another way is to medicate ourselves into a stupor and forget. Yet another is to submit our will to the Spirit of the Age and float along w/o a fight. None of these can bring us the peace we most desire. Circumstances are always bigger and louder than our control. Forgetting ends when the meds wear off. And the Spirit of the Age is always hungry. Christ offers another, better way: “You must be born from above.” Born once more from water and spirit.
If we are thrown into being and left to deal at our first birth, then why would a second birth be any different? Because our second birth is a birth into the Body of Christ as imperfect Christs. Our second birth throws us into the always, already present gift of the One Who died for us. Who rose for us. Who sent his Spirit to set us on fire for his Word. If we born the first time naked and screaming, we are born again clothed with the Spirit and at peace. There is no anxiety b/c we have no control. God provides. We receive with praise and thanksgiving. God loves, so do we. God forgives, so do we. God gifts us with everything and everyone we will ever need to move relentlessly toward our reunion with Him. We choose to use His gifts for His glory, or we do not. If we do, our choices are made before we make them, and they bear abundant fruit. If not, then we turn to those ways of soothing anxiety that sell us to the Enemy. We become willing customers of sin and death. We have chosen to be born again in water and spirit. To be thrown into the Body of Christ, to live like Christ. It's a choice we once made. And one we must remake everyday until we no longer can. Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.