Thom Temperli is a senior in the M.Div. program. Thom came to Seminary of the Southwest from the Diocese of Texas.
Today’s readings invite us to honestly ponder our heart’s deepest desires. In the midst of the Christmas season the heart of today’s scriptures address our deepest fears and greatest yearnings amidst a time when our culture has already disposed of the gift wrapping and empty boxes whose contents and whose giver’s intentions may have fulfilled some desires and disappointed others. We are left to examine honestly what it is underneath all of our outward cravings and pursuits of little “happinesses” that leaves us yearning, and what leaves us still afraid that our deepest longings will not be met.
Could it be that the compilers of the lectionary wanted to encourage us to face that our pursuits of happinesses both tedious and grand are fueled by our fear? Fear of death. Fear of rejection. Fear of insignificance and meaninglessness? The words, “do not be afraid” and “neither do I condemn you” make space for what we really feel at times. We are afraid, and we do feel condemned – even if only by ourselves. Yet, behind those feelings, we recognize desire for truth, love, embrace, connection, for wholeness – our heart’s true desires.