I regularly work out at a ridiculously early hour with a bunch of other rowers. Last week, one of the people in our group joked, “Why am I here?” I playfully took her question literally and replied, “I have some thoughts about that.” Our coach was a bit surprised and asked, “Really?” So, I gave him a straight answer, “I am convinced that we are here to allow God’s love to shine through our lives as a blessing for those we meet and for all of creation.” To which he responded, “That sounds too optimistic to me.”
Well, that’s the limit of existential debate while working out. I think I started doing pushups or something next so I couldn’t answer, but I have thought about that half-joking, half-serious dialogue since then.
Why are we here? Most of us have asked questions like this at one time or another. I have found myself pondering this question in different ways at different times in my life. The way I imagine that God’s love might be manifested in my life have changed over the years, but my conviction that our purpose is to share God’s love as widely as possible has not wavered.
Is that overly optimistic? I don’t think so. Life is full of struggles, loss, failures and grief. Through it all, we have assurance of God-with-us. That is the promise of Jesus Christ. God is with us. That is what Jesus reveals with his life, ministry, death on the cross, and resurrection. We, through our baptism and our common life in the church, are members of the Body of Christ. We are a part of Christ’s ongoing presence in our own lives and in the world. Together, we receive God’s love and blessings and together we are sent to take those blessings into the world. That’s what happens on Sunday. That’s what we pray after we receive Holy Communion:
Almighty and everliving God,
we thank you for feeding us with the spiritual food
of the most precious Body and Blood
of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ;
and for assuring us in these holy mysteries
that we are living members of the Body of your Son,
and heirs of your eternal kingdom.
And now, Father, send us out
to do the work you have given us to do,
to love and serve you
as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.
To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen. (BCP 366)
Yours in Christ,