As I reflect on today’s readings I find myself wondering what is new here. John’s epistle reminds us that to be children of God we must act righteously, love our brothers, and avoid sin. The psalmist sings that the Lord has come to rule the world with justice and equity. And John’s gospel relates that Jesus is recognized as the messiah, first by John the Baptist and then by Andrew and Peter. Core beliefs, fundamental truths, and I suspect for most of you reading this, nothing new or revealing in reading these passages.
So what can I take from reflecting on these selections? What can I learn from plowing old fields where I have been many times before? What is fresh here? I think the value in regularly revisiting these scriptures is in applying them to where I am today in my life. What am I doing TODAY to act righteously, to love my fellows, to avoid sin? How am I TODAY being just and equitable? How do I accept Jesus TODAY as my messiah? The freshness comes not from the message but from the application of these core beliefs to the constantly evolving context that is the complexity of my life.
For me it is a constant struggle to be mindful that each action presents me with choices. As I scurry about in the busy-ness of life, I easily forget the interconnectedness of all of God’s creation, and that everything I do has an impact on someone else in that rich tapestry. It is easy to see the impact of my actions on those closest to me, and yet many times I am insensitive to even these most obvious ways of being righteous and loving. It is appealing to contemplate how the world would be better if we could more equitably allocate scarce resources, yet I buy goods and services without shopping consciously and conscientiously by considering where those goods come from and who produced them. I enjoy consuming goods and services and “conveniences” that even a generation ago only the very wealthy could afford. I am comfortable and complacent.
And so my prayer is for the grace to be mindful TODAY of the opportunities I have to act righteously, to love generously, to be just, and to recognize Jesus.
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