Weekly Reflection, Sunday, January 6, 2019
By: David May, Rector
My wife Emmy and I have been watching ‘Call the Midwife’ on Netflix. It’s a new discovery even though it aired eight years ago. It’s a wonderful story of an order of Anglican nuns who serve as midwives and care-givers living in one of the toughest neighborhoods of London’s East End in the late 1950’s. In a recent episode, a local constable asks Sister Julienne what had motivated a young woman who had recently abandoned her newborn. Sister Julienne replies that there are only two things that motivate any of us: love or fear.
Of course, we human beings are mysterious creatures and so, who knows why any of us does what we do sometimes! But the clarity of Sister Julienne’s observation is a pretty good place to start.
It’s natural this time of the year to look ahead. And I ask myself, am I looking ahead to what this year will bring with love or fear. Or maybe, even, with a little bit of both. As a part of a self-evaluation for our wardens, I’ve been asked to look ahead and articulate what I see as the important priorities for the people of St. Mary’s in our holy calling to be disciples of Jesus in our world. I can quickly rattle off about a dozen or so things! But more and more, before rattling off that list of things, it’s important to wonder what is motivating us. Do we look ahead with love or with fear? Or a little of both!
The Prophet Jeremiah spoke a most beautiful word from God for those who look to the future. This word came to the children of Israel in exile in Babylon, far from home, who had every reason to live from fear and not love. Jeremiah proclaimed: “Thus says the Lord…For surely I know the plans I have for you…plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me….” (Jeremiah 29:11-13a)
The year before us already feels like a gift from God. And what will we do with this gift that God is giving us? Well, God knows. And so shall we as we learn to live, more and more, from love, and for love.