For Kirwan Uniting Church's Keep in Touch pew sheet for 14 April.
Some of you are my Friends on Facebook. I always vowed that I wouldn’t make my Wall visible to a congregation or Presbytery Ministers or the Moderator (The Wall is a Facebook term, the space where you post stuff, carefully considered and researched earnest threads, or off the top of your head thoughts about the weather or footy or whatever, or - and this is why I vowed not to let it be widely seen - in my case, ill-considered rants). But this afternoon I let my Facebook Friends know the perfectly innocuous (unintended pun coming up, hadn’t though of this) that I had a flu jab, an inoculation. Extra strength for old geezers, at that.
You have a flu jab to reduce the chances of catching flu, or for it to be a milder case if you do catch it, and to help with “Herd Immunity”; the more people who are jabbed, the greater the community’s resistance to the virus and the less it is likely to spread within the community. (“Where’s he going with this … ?”) Well, there is a theological concept of a form of grace known as “Prevenient” - it precedes human decision. Grace covers sins after they have been committed, and flourishes even in the midst of great evil (Romans 5:20, … where sin abounded, grace superabounded”). But grace also precedes a moment of choice, a Christian response to existentialism. There have been times in my life when I have been faced with an existential dilemma, a choice between doing the right or wrong thing. Sometimes, I got it wrong. The flu jab isn’t 100% effective. But more often than not, God’s prevenient grace kept me from myself, from my own inclination to selfish sin. St Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 gives God the glory for this, “For I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am…". If I don’t catch flu this season, it’s not because I have a super duper immune system, it’s because I had a jab. Similarly, whatever good I might do, or bad I might not do, is not because of super duper holiness, but simply because of God’s prevenient grace. “There but for the grace of God, go I … "