We begin our New Year often in the same way – making resolutions, looking to the future, and welcoming a second chance to do the things we’ve always wanted to do.
Saturday’s horrific tragedy in Arizona reminds me, that each day, week, month, and year, the question of what we make of our lives goes beyond just ourselves. Can our choices, values, and passions make this world a safer place? Are we given a chance each day to influence some action that might bring darkness or light into our culture?
Sometimes, I wish I could answer that no. Despite my status as a “clergy”, there are lots of things in life that overwhelm me or leave me without answers. There are times when I wish I could be off-duty. There are many times I want to just blend into the crowd and imagine that my actions have little effect on the people around me.
Since my wife and I have welcomed two children into the world, I’ve begun to understand that someone is always watching. My words, my actions, and my attitude are being observed and even copied. I set an example – I open and shut doors with how I approach life each and every day. This has challenged me to be more reflective and sensitive to who I am and how I want others, especially my kids, to see me.
If there is one thing, then, that I want my children to learn from me, I hope they discover that life is a blessing and they each have a calling, given from God, to be that light for someone else.
I pray that they find their calling – the thing that they alone have the gifts, resources, and talents to do to make this world a better place.
So that one day, senseless violence will be no more, our communities will be places of safety and care for the least among us, even those with deep psychological struggles, and all people will have mentors and friends who love and welcome them.
This is the image of the Table – a spiritual oasis – a community of broken people that yearn for a better world – a gathering of followers of Jesus, one who lived and taught and died that the world might taste abundant life.
In this New Year, answer that question with me – what’s your calling? May we respond to the call and usher in that better world, together.