In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.
Last week we began by focusing on history – the lessons of history which are soon forgotten. If we look at the trajectory of the worldly, they live a ‘lather, rinse, repeat’ lifestyle, never breaking free from the destructive patterns of behavior brought about by sin and selfishness.
Today, we have more historical lessons. The history buffs among us, and those like me who fondly remember their history teachers and professors, recall the term ‘manifest destiny.’
Manifest destiny was a popular term in the early to mid nineteenth century. Its philosophy taught that the expansion of the United States throughout the continent was both justified and inevitable. It focused on three themes: (1) The American people and their institutions contained within themselves special virtues; (2) The mission of the United States was to redeem and remake the continent; and (3) It was our irresistible destiny to accomplish these things.
Seems almost faith based, doesn’t it. In fact it was a kind of faith – a worldly faith.
In our first reading, the priest of Bethel confronted the prophet Amos and tried to drive him away. Amos responded in true faith. Amos replies: I am just a man who followed my herds and gathered the fruit from the sycamores until the Eternal spoke to me, as I was minding my flock. He said: Go and speak My words to the people of Israel!
Amos was given a true manifest destiny. He had God’s virtue to share, it was his mission to remind and remake Israel, and it was his destiny to accomplish this. No priest nor anyone would stop him.
Paul reminds the Church at Ephesus, and us, that they and we have a manifest destiny – a true one in Jesus. We have been granted Jesus virtues, we are chosen to remake the world in God’s image, in accord with His kingdom design, and it is our mission and destiny to not just work at it, but to accomplish it. We should never allow anyone or anything to stop us.
We are reminded that Jesus sends us as He sent the twelve. He gives a true manifest destiny: not political, not earthly, not self-serving or selfish. Let nothing stop us from manifesting God’s destiny each day.