Does living your faith often feel like it leaves you on the outer?

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16 May 2018

Today’s readings remind me of that video clip of a child who is given a marshmallow and told that if they don’t eat it now, they can have another one in five minutes when the giver comes back.  Watching the agony of the child for five slowly passing minutes gives something of the picture of what it can be like to be a Christian in the world today.

For us, it’s not the simple pleasure of a marshmallow we are being asked to hold back on, but often the approval or understanding of family, friends or workmates as we choose a stance on moral issues, act in accordance with our conscience, or prioritise “Church commitments” in our busy schedules.

Buried deep in today’s Gospel is the statement that Jesus wants to share His joy with us to the full.  But like the promise of a second marshmallow to the child, “joy to the full” can seem like a future reality that is agony to cling to in the face of the pleasurable compromises that the world offers to us.

The tone of the Gospel today tells me that Jesus is speaking about something and someone that really matters to Him.  I don’t know about you, but it gives me comfort to think that Jesus knows and cares that it is often hard to follow Him when the world around me is, at best, not sympathetic.  More than that, knowing that Jesus anticipated this and prayed for me gives me the courage to persevere in my often unpopular stances and life-choices, knowing that life with Him offers far more than any compromise could.

Lord, please help me to hold on to what is true in the face of the active encouragement of those around me to do otherwise.  I want to share your joy to the full!

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