St Peter & St Paul

South Petherton, with the Seavingtons

and the Lambrooks

The Rector’s Letter for December

Dear Friends,

What do you want? As I am writing this in the official lead-up to Christmas, (just the other side of Black Friday!) there is an awful lot of talk about what people 'want' around. Indeed, I have found myself asking this question (hoping to bag a timely bargain). As you are reading this, either before Christmas or perhaps in the New Year with all the talk of 'resolutions' and the shopping sales, you may also be aware of this. “I want” is one of the slogans for the times, the retailer's fuel. 

However, at a deeper level, “I want” is a large part of how we interact with the world and how we make sense of our lives. It is all too easy to go on a rant about how “I want” is something to be rejected because life should all be about others, all about God etc. etc. and there is truth in this, but it is not the full story. We ignore our own wants, our own desires, our own wishes, at our peril.

Quiz: What are Jesus’ first words in John’s Gospel? As a piece of literature these first words are carefully chosen, they are not irrelevant filler but a punchy and perhaps surprising opening. After all the anticipation built up by John the Baptist and the fantastic introduction, (the Prologue) to the Gospel, Jesus turns round, direct to camera and says (for those of you who haven’t looked it up) “what do you want”? 

It is a question that is on the table between us and God, between us and ourselves, a question that forms relationships and directs lives. Asking ourselves what we want can be very revealing and sometimes, if we really look into it, quite disturbing (which is not necessarily a negative thing). Our intentions, our desires, our-selves. Have you tried looking in the mirror and asking a few times at intervals “what do you want”? Or perhaps having a conversation with a trusted friend where the only question they are allowed to ask is … “what do you want”? Or a walk with God (perhaps even literally) where you lay the question open?

Of course, God ‘wants’ for us too and I would suggest that a large part of our lives is exploring and trying to draw in line our desires with God’s. But even if and when this is achieved, they will still be our desires. This is why “what do you want”? – this Christmas, this New Year, this life – is not necessarily self-indulgent and unhelpful but is potentially one of the questions we need to be asking ourselves. 

Every blessing

Rev Tom

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