Love, Obedience, and Survival

Trust and Obey is the name of a hymn that is familiar to some, but its lyrics ring so true about our experience as believers and followers of God. When you have chance, search for the lyrics and then listen to it. The refrain, or the hook as some people call it, goes like this, "Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."

For many people, that refrain is a sign of God's care and connection for we who are believers in and followers of God as well as our loyal gift of faith to God in return. The word obey is one that some people have no problem with, while others are not comfortable with it at all. How do you feel about the word obey? Does being a faithful follower, a discerning disciple, or showing loving loyalty to God suit you? If so, that is not a problem.

To some people, however, those words describe obedience too. The interpretation of our words can cause us to misunderstand each other as we seek to articulate our faith. We normally use our emotional and cultural backgrounds when interpreting the terms of our faith.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was an example of being a faithful follower and a discerning disciple when she, as a young person, displayed loving loyalty to the words of the angel Gabriel. God came into this world through a female teen named Mary who God chose to grant a miracle. I have mentioned this in an earlier sermon, that Mary was certainly not an adult by our standards today. She was believed to be somewhere between 14 and 16 years of age at the time of her holy visitation by the Archangel Gabriel. In her day, she would be considered an age to be married because at that time in the cultures of the Middle East the marriage covenant was just as much a social status and economic contractual relationship as it was a divine covenant and loving commitment between God, a man, and a woman.

Mary obeyed or followed what Gabriel told her would happen to her in God•s name. She followed those words in her daily lifestyle no matter what it cost her personally because she wanted to show her love for God.

The work of being a believer in and a follower of Jesus comes through our love gift of acceptance of God's word and then acting through faith, to live it out daily in the midst of some difficult circumstances. Mary and Joseph followed God's word when Jesus was about to be born to save us all. This week, I would like you to read two Bible passages - the first is Luke 1:26-38. The second is Philippians 2:12-13.

These two passages deal with the central story of our faith and the words of teaching and support for our faith as we move towards the end of Advent and look forward to Christmas. The Cantata this Sunday has a wealth of wonderful music and if you pay close attention to the lyrics you will be blessed by how they echo both the gospel and the epistle passages relating to faithful following, loving loyalty, or obedience to God. Look and listen to it intently.

Tune in early next week for the video of my sermon which is the series finale based on the Down to Earth Advent Study dealing with obedience and will be available on Facebook and our website.

Amen.

Copyright © 2018 First United Methodist Church, Downers Grove. Please report any problems to webmaster@dgfumc.org.