In the New Testament Lesson from the Revised Common Lectionary for today (all you Episcopalians, Catholics, Lutherans and Methodists will understand the jargon), says, "...I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others." In other words, what's your motivation? Are you there because it it where you want to be, or because you are afraid not to be there? The difference is subtle, but significant.
I've spent so many years taking an active part in the worship of my church, that being without that regular experience has left a noticeable void. It's where I really want to be. Now I am back into the rhythm of worship service, reading today at Holy Nativity for the first time since high school.
There are many very good readers at Holy Nativity, a much higher proportion than I am used to hearing. In California, I had a huge fan in Blake Beauchamp. No, Blake and I had a mutual admiration society. Blake and his dear wife, Catherine, were among Ray's and my mentors in the Cursillo movement in the San Joaquin Valley. We attended the annual lay reader conferences together. We visited regularly in their home. Blake almost unfailingly greeted me with a hug and asked, "How's the best lay reader in the diocese?" I always felt like Blake exaggerated. So I was very surprised when the visiting priest asked me this morning, "What were you in your former life? A teacher? I thought I could tell by your clear love of the words, your pacing and cadence ...." I was surprised by the number of strangers who commented on a "beautiful reading". It feels like an opening into the Holy Nativity family. I can make a small difference. It's a nice place to be.
Look for a way to touch someone's life. Even a smile makes a difference. Give thanks for small things. Don't forget to pray.