To my fellow pilgrims on the way to the promised end
Happiness. It’s what we long for, what we’re after.
For some of us, there is a specific picture of what “happily ever after” looks like. A number we want to see in our bank at the end of the month or at the start of our retirement. The just-right sized house. The ideal weight. The best assortment of letters before or after our name. The recovery or remission or reconciliation of family members who, at so many different levels of life, have been taking serious strain.
For others it is a little more elusive; a distant and undefined dream that we stumblingly try to discern as our parents and partners and colleagues and friends sagely advise “I just want you to be happy.”
Happiness. Isn’t that what life is all about?
Can you imagine, for a moment, if our priorities, our pursuit of happiness, had defined Jesus’ view of life? Can you see him rejecting each of the devil’s temptations so firmly if happiness was his measure of a life well lived? Or setting himself on a path that would lead to pain and suffering if self-preservation and satisfaction was all he valued?
Kingdom priorities are different priorities. It’s not that God doesn’t want us to be happy – it’s that God wants us to know far more than the temporary happiness that flees each time life gets hard or people get mean.
As we begin our journey into the wilderness and the wideness of Lent this week, I pray that Sunday’s sacred gathering and the weekly spaces for prayer and contemplation on offer at both Wesley and Pilgrim (see UiW and bulletin) may offer us a starting point for repentance, renewal, and reframing those longings and temptations that have power in our lives.
This Lent – forget happiness! May we pursue Christ and know the joy of walking in the power and the grace of the Spirit.
Yours in Christ