When We Tire of People

train-wreckI occasionally tire of people. That’s a horrible thing to say as a minister. It’s the truth though. It’s because people, all people, come with baggage. By the time I place my baggage on the train with everyone else’s it can get pretty crowded. To often I’ve felt discouraged, disappointed and disenfranchised. At such times I know in my heart and mind that I’ve taken my eyes off the real prize. It’s easy to do. Ministers aren’t exempt from being human. I take comfort in knowing that even my Lord retreated from people. Even he experienced disappointment.

Yet, Jesus also wept for us. We aren’t broken enough for one another nowadays.  Most of the time the sermons we hear remind us of how special we are as individuals, never reminding us of our obligations to one another. I think this allows us to live in our private coach mindset.  It encourages a thinking that says we’re permitted to do life alone forgetting that even those with first class accommodations require service from others. 

As I was reading the other day I came across these words by C.S. Lewis. I’ve read them before but never have they been more alive in my mind.

The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization–these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit–immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously–no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for sins in spite of which we love the sinner–no mere tolerance or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses.

What a privilege we have to rub shoulders with one another and to journey together.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

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