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Lord, make me an instrument of your peace . . .

27 December 2014

St. John's witness for today

   "we have seen it and testify to it
   and proclaim to you the eternal life
   that was with the Father and was made visible to us
   what we have seen and heard
   we proclaim now to you,
   so that you too may have fellowship with us;"

                              First Letter of St. John

Interestingly, over the last several days as I peruse the Flipboard categories,  I have encountered a number of articles addressing the reality of Jesus, the virgin birth, and a whole host of skeptical notions about the beginnings of the Christian era.  In today's secular world, I suspect that these are just normal machinations of folks who really don't believe in much else that the secular manifestation of "what ever feels good must be OK".  Of course, this selfish, inward view of the world really doesn't address anything but satisfying that persons  own wants and needs and doesn't even come close to addressing all of the issues we encounter each day in our society.  I think that a major problem today is that selfish, inward direct world view.  That, "what's in it for me" attitude that keeps a person so wound around  satisfying their own wants and needs that they can't  be concerned about anyone else.  

OK, OK, yes, I would be the first to admit that the "Christians" generally don't do so well either and certainly haven't set a very good example over the years, well centuries.  But, as we re-examine our lives, we can change - all of us - and place a different focus on what really is important.  I think that generally American society agrees that things are not going very well right now - violence, rich getting richer, poor getting poorer, middle class fading away, poor job opportunities, and the list goes on.  Many folks blame our current president and his administration for all of this, but I think it's more deeply rooted in the selfish, inward looking attitude of most people today.  The "me" generation has turned into the "me first" generation.

Now, you may call me naive about all of this if you like.  I do know and believe from my own  experience that caring for others before myself is highly satisfying.  Having taught in  schools and  adult ed for over 40 years, I recognize that self sacrifice to help out someone else is the only way to go.  Why do I believe that way?  Because I believe what St. John wrote all those years ago.

Indeed, he and the others witnessed something remarkable.  It dramatically changed their lives so that they couldn't keep it in.  They had  to tell others about this new way of life that they had learned.  I believe their  story.  After 2000 years of witness and looking at all of the good that sincere, holy folks have done, I just know that this way of life is really worth trying.  I don't like what the secular option offers at all.  So, yes, I really believe in Jesus Christ with my whole heart, mind, and soul.  I really believe that He walks with me every day, whether I recognize  it  or not.  I really believe that He helps me make right  choices when I rely on him  rather than my  own resources.  All I know is that this truly Christian way of life is far more satisfying than seeking all the money, power, and prestige in the world.  I've tried the other way and it just doesn't cut it.  I am more at peace now than I have ever been.  Yes, my physical abilities and energy  prevent me from doing much about it right now, but the attitude and disposition is critically important to "getting it  right".  

My only wish is that everyone would step back from all that  is going on right now in our country:  the bitter  political struggles, the  hate, the anger,   the selfish pride, the  influence peddling, and so.  Stop ! Look at what is really important in your own life.  Now, stop and look again.  Turning your outlook to others and accepting what John talked about - the real Christian life - not the one that has been perverted by secular values.  

Pope  Francis talks about this all of the time.  We really need to listen to what  he is saying!  He is calling us to care for the less fortunate, the poor, the helpless.  He is calling us to turn our backs on the glamor and glitter of modern, consumer society.  He is calling us to convert our lives from the selfish, wasteful, wanton, and destructive lifestyle; open ourselves to the Love of God, and create a new economy that really cares for all people as  being a precious gift from a loving  Father.  Wow.  Wouldn't that make Christmas really meaningful.    Well, I guess it's something to hope for and spend time working towards.  Try it.

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