Robert's Ruminations

The thoughts of Revd. Robert, Minister for Emmanuel, Ilfracombe

Choosing to love

Before people go for a job interview they usually spruce themselves up, dust themselves down, then check with their family or friends if they look all right. Minor adjustments are made, assurances of "not to worry" are urged. CVs and application forms have already been sent on ahead, advance notice of past accomplishments that are supported by important signatories. The gaps have been covered as well as could be truthfully managed. All these reports now lie on the table in the interview room. Dry throats are watered, moist palms are rubbed, nervousness is covered with a ready smile. The interview begins. The agenda is ‘themselves’.

People go through all this anxiety and strain in the hope that they will be selected for the job. The prospect of failure and rejection is real, but the strenuous hope of being chosen gives them courage to face the probing questions. To be chosen is to be picked out, opted for, preferred, taken on. All this makes the risk of refusal worthwhile.


But, it is only when applicants are chosen for a job that they are free to take it or leave it. Before acceptance they are in no position to choose the job that is advertised. In applying they declare that they want the position; but wishes aren't choices. Only after acceptance have they the actual power to choose the job or not.

In John’s Gospel, we are given a clear message by Jesus, "You did not choose me, no, I chose you". That’s the thing with God; we don't have to turn up at an interview to discover if God will choose us or not: God has already made an everlasting decision to love us. God's love is not an issue; it is not a matter of speculation. It is there.

God's love comes first, and it is only because of God's love that we have the power and the freedom to choose God. In the end, it is God that has opted for us, he has declared his choice, he has taken us on.

God's love is based on choice: he loves because he chooses to love. The supreme example of that is seen in Jesus. If the supreme act of love is to lay down your life for the sake of others, Jesus shows that he could have no greater love. His love takes him to the cross, just as the Father's love raises him up. Jesus gives of himself until there is nothing left to give.

In everything that he did Jesus kept on choosing to love. He did not choose ‘once upon a time’; he chose to love at all times. That self-giving quality of divine love that Jesus showed is one that can be seen in the lives of many people.

As we come again to Remembrance Day in November, we are reminded how men and women have sacrificed their own lives for the love of others and for what they believe in as important in their lives. We thank God for their sacrifice and their example to us of what it means to love so much that you are willing to give your all for others.

Let us look at the sacrifices we make and hard though they may be to bear, let us bear them in love – love for each other and as a response to our love for our God.

We can choose to do the right thing – so choose the path that God has shown us through Jesus; choose the path that we are called to follow in His example. In ‘choosing to love’, we are ‘choosing to live’.

Every blessing,


Christmas Thoughts for 2016
Showing Gratitude


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Thursday, 23 January 2020

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