Enough Chosenness to Go Around
August 19, 2020
I’ve been meditating on the story of Esau lately. Esau was “chosen” by a patriarchal system that said “yes” to a blessing for him as the firstborn, but his twin Jacob was on his heels from the time they were born. Their story entails jealousy, betrayal, dysfunction and deceit, resulting in Jacob requiring Esau to trade his birthright for a cup of porridge when he was starving to death. When Isaac, their father, was ready to give Esau as special blessing from his death bead, Jacob disguised himself to take that as well.
This story is heart-breaking.
As a kid growing up in church, I was taught that I was one of God’s chosen. Later in life, I began to have questions about this idea of chosenness, such as If I am chosen, does that mean others aren’t? Why would God choose me and not someone else? If God loved me enough to choose me, and God is love, why doesn’t God have enough love to choose everyone?
A number of years ago I had the opportunity to hear Christian author Anne Lamott speak. She noted that she had been asked by people How do you know if you’re chosen? Her simple reply was Are you here on this earth? You’re chosen.
Lamott’s response resonates with me because Jesus calls us to love our neighbors. In the story of the Good Samaritan the man lying beaten on the side of the road was hurting and in need. He was “other.” His “chosenness” was in the choice of the Samaritan to cross the road and humanize him.
This month I had the privilege of delivering the remaining Beans & Brews fundraiser chili to our families. It was such a precious thing to show up at their doors (masked and distanced) to offer them some soup, to have a minute to see their faces and ask how they were doing. They were chosen to receive the soup because they were our families and of course we wanted them to have this special albeit simple blessing, especially as they are doing the hard work of overcoming homelessness. Yet as I drove I found myself wishing I could deliver soup to each and every door I passed. I wondered what the world would be like if everyone could be as strong and humble as our families, chosen to receive in this way?
The abundance of God’s kingdom turns mustard seeds into trees and a few loaves and fish into a feast. You may have heard the saying Love is like two loaves and two fish. It starts to multiply when you give it away. The same Jesus who blessed the loaves and fish blessed us. Me. You. And you. And you and you and you. And him and her and them too. And that one back there in the corner, and the one standing outside the doors we have closed. Yes, even them. Because we are all neighbors, chosen to be loved. Unconditionally. This is our birthright.
My friend Addie wrote a beautiful song for Esau. Addie brings the abundance of God’s kingdom back to this story. Have a listen and be blessed alongside Esau: Esau’s Blessing
*Image: Loaves and Fish Mosaic Tabgha, Galilee