The Rev. Canon Rosemarie Logan Duncan
Today’s Gospel: John 3:22-36
John 3:22-36 “For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
When was the last time you heard someone say that their joy has been fulfilled? Our culture is one that usually speaks to finding happiness through our possessions and perhaps our careers, but these things are not enough to give rise to true and lasting joy. I suspect that many people actually struggle to find joy in their daily lives.
So what is this joy that John the Baptist is speaking of? To answer the question, we must understand that John the Baptist knew who he was in the sight of God. He knew his strengths and his weaknesses, and knew that his life was to be centered on the One to come. This was not a burden for him: he rejoiced in the coming of Jesus and in his place in the mission and life of Jesus.
John completely entrusted himself to God and accepted God’s plan, which enabled him to find the center of his “joy” in Jesus. John the Baptist knew he was the announcer of good news, but not the good news itself so John’s entire goal in life was to put the spotlight on Jesus. This ought to be our goal in life as well.
John then continues with the words, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” To decrease so Jesus can increase means to live a life that points to Jesus and not to ourselves. It means being open to Jesus’ presence in our lives. That means removing all hindrances to clear the way for Jesus to walk through to our hearts.
The disciplines of Lent – prayer, fasting, studying God’s word – help free us from those things that prevent us from loving Christ and help us enter into a deeper relationship with him – in joy. How can you decrease today so that Christ may increase?
Jesus, you’re the center of my joy.
All that’s good and perfect comes from you.
You’re the heart of my contentment, hope for all I do.
Jesus, you’re the center of my joy. (Richard Smallwood)