Testing The Waters

It is amazing how much of ourselves we unintentionally reveal in the course of ordinary conversation. Most of us don't have to talk very long before those who are listening have a fairly good fix on who we are and what we really value, even if our words themselves are intended to convey the exact opposite! Try listening to yourself some time. It can be both humorous and disconcerting.

St John the Apostle is a case in point. As we follow the Anglican cycle of prayer, in today's first reading, he reveals what he's really about when he explains that he's writing to his friends about Jesus so that 'our own joy may be complete.' In a word, John thinks of his own happiness as something that comes from sharing life and giving it away, not just from grabbing what he can get. And that explains the whole course of his very long life.

So where are we seeking our happiness? And are we finding it? Where have we invested our hearts? Where do we invest most of our waking hours? Are we facing the world, or are we hiding behind our computers, playing games and making excuses? Are we as happy as we'd like to be, or as we think we could be? And what does that tell us about the course we've charted for ourselves?

We're on the edge of a new year. It's a good time to ponder our priorities and set them right. Perhaps this year we can set aside our excuses as to why our duty to serve God somehow falls second and even third to our secular activities. Even clergy can fall prey to the secular or 'business' side of the church and lose track of our real roles.

It's a simple equation: We can either continue to tip our toes in and out of the living healing waters of Christ, or we can jump in and immerse ourselves in His life. It's our choice. He's there for us. But no matter what we do, we can't have it both ways.

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