During Advent, the Rector’s Forum is discussing holiday movies. Last week we shared our favorite lines from It’s a Wonderful Life. One of the participants emailed me and shared this as the most impactful line, “Each man’s life touches so many others.”
Just as this line is important for others, I am mindful and moved by that line for several reasons. In the aftermath (although that sounds a little too dramatic) of Sarah’s broken leg, the compassion, care and concern of our St. John’s family has been overwhelmingly beautiful and helpful. Despite a pandemic, despite our newness, despite the time of the year with its hectic and frantic pace, you have reached out to us with prayer, concern, childcare, food and friendship. Did I mention delicious food?
Your lives have touched our lives, and I pray that you realize that we do not take that for granted. In fact, we view that as holy. Perhaps John the Baptist is trying to tell us something like this, that our lives have the potential to touch many others. Just maybe, that is why is out at the River Jordan baptizing people urging them to get ready for one who is more than just an ordinary prophet, priest or person. With some inside knowledge, John the Baptist knows that Jesus will both touch our lives in unimaginable ways while empowering us to do and be the same holy presence for others.
For the rest of Advent, can we consider how our lives touch and change others. In fairness, we should reflect on the negative and positive influences we have. Such introspection leads us deeper into the waters of repentance where John and Jesus stand. Our relationships: friends, co-workers, churchgoers, family, enemies and strangers alike are not just transactions to be endured daily. No one wants to be understood as a commodity to be acquired or disposed of when there is an advantage to do so. Our lives, meaning our thoughts, words and actions touch others in ways beyond our immediate comprehension.
I bear witness to the impact of each of you. I see the goodness that is bursting forth, which you and I should never withhold. I have felt the kindness of friends and strangers alike. Inconvenience comes with a broken leg especially for the bearer of that pain and recovery. However, we have received grace and love, being touched and made better by your lives. Interestingly, the quote mentioned is spoken by the angel Clarence. The entire quote is: “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
Our world needs no more holes, no more emptiness, no more chasms between light and darkness, between kindness and indifference, between love and loneliness. You matter. You matter to this world. You matter to God.