Friday, 7 September 2018

What do you want?

For several weeks now I have been asking the members of my congregations the question “What do you want?”  It stemmed from the Readings in the lectionary that were from the gospel of John.  We have been focused these past number of weeks on the sixth chapter and Jesus as the bread of life.  At one point he asks the people the question “What do you want?”

Without being present to hear the tone, one has to use their imagination.  It might have been frustrated and abrupt, it might have been at the end of  his patience with the endless demands and needs and wants, it might have been warm and soothing.  But think about it, if someone looks at you and asks what do you want, does it engender a warm fuzzy feeling or more of a sinking feeling?  Do you feel free to make the request or do you need to dig deep to find your courage so that you are able to ask for and name what it is you want, need or are looking for?  When I asked the question of those present the body language indicated a pulling away, a barrier seemed to go up.  The question did not appear to make people feel comfortable or welcome.  It did not seem to engender the warm fuzzies but rather there was a certain reluctance to have to either face or answer the question.

A couple of weeks later I returned to the question with my congregations.  This time we looked at it in relation to the story of Solomon.  Specifically we focused on Solomon’s dream when God asked what he wanted and Solomon requested wisdom.  Faced with the same opportunity, I asked those present to consider "what do you want".  Would it be personal gain or would it be something bigger?   I don’t usually put people on the spot to answer and this was no exception.  I wanted them to truly think about what they wanted.  Imagine my surprise when one person said as we concluded the service, “I know my answer, I’d ask for peace.”  There is always something special about these moments.  (Someone actually was paying attention!!!) The answer was heavy duty, sincere and completely selfless.

What do you want?  Depending on the circumstances, what is happening in that moment and life events we all have different answers, wants and needs.  At the same time it is an important question to contemplate so that when we are faced with that question in life and on our faith journey we will have considered how we would respond and know what it is we want.

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