The Talking Pew: Jesus “Decides”

Manjushri is the Buddhist bodhisattva of wisdom -- and grammar. I think of his sword as showing me how to make distinctions -- decisions -- in my writing and in life.

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

We are utterly known and loved by God, the psalmist declares. God searches us out. God knows our sitting down and our standing up. God discerns our thoughts. There is not a word on our lips that God does not know.

That’s scary. I like being loved and known by God, and I’m OK (sort of) with God and God’s thoughts being beyond my ken.

But how about “you press upon me behind and before/and lay your hand upon me.” Does that leave any room for me to be me? Or am I just another grain of sand tossed onto the beach by an overpowering wave?

The Fourth Gospel to the rescue!

In chapter one, John reports, “The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee.”

Decided. Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He could have gone elsewhere. He could have stayed put. But Jesus was free to make a decision. He was competent to make a decision. He needed to make a decision. Nothing was foreordained.

Like us, Jesus was utterly known and loved by God – yet he had autonomy. He made choices. He had no choice but to make choices.

Do we?

© 2012 text and photo BF Newhall

Epiphany 2 LECTIONARY:

1 Samuel 3:1-10(11-20)
Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
John 1:43-51

LORD you have searched me out and known me;
you know my sitting down and my rising up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.

You trace my journeys and my resting-places
and are acquainted with all my ways.

Indeed, there is not a word on my lips,
but you, O LORD, know it altogether.

You press upon me behind and before
and lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain to it . . .

How deep I find your thoughts, O God!
how great is the sum of them!

If I were to count them, they would be more in number than the sand . . .
– Psalm 139:1-5, 16-17a

“The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee.” – John 1:43

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© 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Barbara Falconer Newhall. and Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog's author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided that full and clear credit is given to Barbara Falconer Newhall and with appropriate and specifc direction to the original content. Bible texts are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA. The Psalms are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979. Material originally published and copyrighted by the Oakland Tribune is posted here by permission. WordPress theme adapted from Thematic Theme Framework