As a kid there was a young guy who lived on my block who had a car I really liked. More intriguing, was a bumper sticker on the car that said: “I’d rather be sailing”. As I would think about him, I remember being so jealous – he had this really cool car, and even then, he’d rather be sailing – how great must his life be!!!! My life was dull in comparison – I rode a bike and the closest I got to a sailboat was paint by number! It was tough to rather be him, even as he would rather be sailing. Maybe the deeper lesson is that it is always hard to “rather” be anything.
It seems odd on this first week of classes at Duke when possibility abounds to be thinking of what or where we would rather be. In many ways most of us are already in fact where we’d rather be. This experience is what we have been looking forward to regardless of whether or not we are new students or soon graduating. But doesn’t that “rather” creep in “rather” quickly?
This Sunday’s readings see some of Jesus’ followers deciding that they would rather be anywhere other than listening to his difficult message of discipleship. The challenge of life in Christ is not always cool cars, sailing, and living life’s dreams. There is a cross to be carried and we are all called to pick ours up. When some of his followers would rather not, he asks the 12 “Will you leave me too?” The answer that Peter gives on their behalf is poignant and powerful: “Where would we go?” In other words: There is no place we would rather be!
Can we say the same? Lord, there is nowhere I would rather be than with you! That is the challenge of everyday life – to acknowledge that real life is lived in the moment with Christ, not in some ideal fantasy world that we create in our imagination to give us hope that something better than now is waiting. May we have the courage to seek life with Christ not as something we’d rather be doing, but rather what it is we are actually doing each and every day.
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