Life is short. And we do not have too much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us. So be swift to love. Make haste to be kind. [Then comes the blessing:] And the blessing of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you always.
LIFE IS SHORT. Fifty may be the new forty; but the older one becomes, the faster the time flies. And “gladdening the hearts” of others is put off until another time, which often never comes. We have allowed ourselves to be so rushed in our everyday lives, preoccupied with our own dreams, struggles, and successes. But oh how I wish that I had taken the time to encourage my father to talk about his World War II involvement, or that I had questioned my mother about her father’s immigrant experience. My taking an interest in their earlier lives would have “gladdened their hearts.” I am certain of this; but I was too busy making my own way. Now it is too late because they are gone.
Being “swift to love” is so much more than saying the right words. Real love is a state of being, a readiness to act for the wellbeing of another, to act wisely, consistently in the face of any challenge. Parents do this for children. Spouses and partners do this for each other. Love embodies an ultimate commitment. Jesus taught us and showed us how to love.
Making “haste to be kind” is the easier of these admonitions but it requires one to look at life as if the glass is half-full instead of the alternative. Being kind is a sharing of the self. If one is half-empty there is little to share. Kindness is a smile instead of a frown or a blank expression. Kindness is a warm welcome to a stranger. Kindness is the gift of a single hydrangea brought to lift another’s spirit. Kindness is a supper together to foster relationships. Kindness is part of the fabric of St John’s.
The concluding “blessing of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit…” comes to us without being earned. But how much more meaningful is this blessing to each of us if we have experienced the power of love and kindness both as a giver and a receiver!
Links to the appointed readings for today: