For more commentary on this week's readings, see the Reflections on the Lectionary page, which
includes Weems's current Living by the Word column as well as past magazine
and blog content. For full-text access to all articles, subscribe to the Century.
In a recent
interview, Diane Keaton told the story of when she first decided to adopt a
child. She was driving her father home from the hospital to die. Having been
diagnosed with a terminal illness and having completed the last possible
treatments available to him, he was heading home to spend his last days--and
she was the one behind the steering wheel.
Keaton said she was at a loss for words on that car ride
home. Yet her father chose to speak. He wished he had spent less of his life
working and spent more time with her. He wished he had traveled more. He wished
he had taken more risks.
Keaton remembers hearing his words and reflecting, there in
the car, on her own life's regrets. She, too, been averse to risk-taking,
especially in the area of intimacy with other human beings. It was then, she
remembers, that she chose to pursue adopting a child.
Paul writes to first-century Christians living in Corinth
that "the appointed time has grown short." We live some many years after Paul's
writing and are fairly certain that the time is not so short. Or is it? We are
still waiting for the time he so deeply believed was at hand.
While we wait, we find wisdom in Paul's words, advice like
that of a dying father to his daughter. Indeed, time is short, and we cannot be
sidetracked by those things that try to claim importance in our lives.
What defines us, rather, is the call of God in our lives.
Paul's concern was how our identity as followers of the risen Lord impacts our
behavior, our outlook, our perspective. Isn't this still a grave concern? How
is it, we ask, that this call manifests itself in how we live and love and make
It's an important question to ask, in the midst of a
worshiping community, at the beginning of a new year. "For the present form of
this world is passing away."