The Purpose Of Life


Today's lectionary text comes to us from Ephesians 5:8-9
8 For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light— 9 for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.
This verse spoke to me, and I had to sit and read it a few times to get in touch with exactly why.  And then it came to me.  We are different now.  All of us.  

The world changed almost overnight.  Just a few weeks ago, it was life as usual--busy, crazy, hustle, bustle... We took for granted the meetings that we attended at work.  We passed by each other in the grocery store without really speaking. 

And now... I went to the grocery store yesterday and found myself wandering around marveling at all of the things that were gone from the shelves.  My eyes met those of the people I encountered.  I spoke to more people than I ever have.  

I found myself genuinely thanking the workers for being there, and told them how much we all appreciated their sacrifice.  

I even thanked the UPS driver who dropped off packages at my house the other day.  I thanked the delivery guy who brought my dinner the other night.  And these weren't just halfhearted gestures.  This was full on, look them in the eye and thank them.  

The looks we exchanged with one another were meaningful, filled with the new knowledge that all of this self-isolation and social distancing has brought.  

We were once in darkness about how much we need one another, but no longer.  

Like many of you, I'm filled with a certain amount of existential dread about what this means for the livelihoods of so many people I know and love.  How can we do this for a sustained period of time without people losing jobs, companies going under...  

And yet, there's also this sense that I have about all of this---a stronger sense.  That maybe what we've needed is to be reminded as a society about what's truly important.  

Author Brian Zahnd recently wrote: 
Most of us are scripted to think that life is a game and the purpose of life is to win.  This is the way that seems right.  But the divine truth is that life is a gift and the purpose of life is to learn to love well. 
I hope that we will learn to love well during this trying time.  I  hope that we will come to internalize these feelings that we all share about the need for one another, the need for connection and interdependence.  

And I hope that when this is all over, these are the things that we remember most about this time.  Because life is a gift, and what greater purpose is there but to love God and love everybody? 

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  

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