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What do you want? A Midweek Musing

So, knowing I had a busy week I wrote my Midweek Musing on Monday and you will see it – perhaps next week. But before Wednesday came, I listened to and then read a sermon from Rev. Tom Are, Jr. who is pastor of the Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, Kansas. I often listen to Tom as part of my own study and worship and I have been known to use something he said as a quote in my own sermons.

Tom or “Tommy” as my parents knew him when he was in their youth group at Shallowford Presbyterian Church in Atlanta a few years ago is a gifted preacher and pastor. As my Dad knew him in those formative years, he claims he taught Tom all he knows! The fact that Tom’s father was also a very gifted preacher and pastor is just a coincidence.

In the sermon, Tom is talking about Jesus calling the disciples from being fishermen to fishers of people. He states that he thinks “Jesus creates a hunger in us for a more authentic life, a more righteous life.”

The question we have to figure out is what we want. He reminds us it is not “a question about our basic desires — like I want more ice cream in my life, or I want to lose some weight because of all the ice cream in my life. It’s not about careers; they don’t completely get at this. It’s not the bucket list question: Do you want to see Alaska? I mean when it’s all said and done, what do you want your life to have meant? What do you want to contribute?”

He shares after prayerful consideration he has made a list of that which “he wants” which I found powerful and I wanted to share with you.

“During these days of COVID, I’ve been thinking anew about what I want — wants that I pray are informed by what God wants.

I want the people I love in this world to trust that I love them; that includes this congregation.

I want people who work for a living to be able to afford a living.

I want us to take seriously that not everyone is treated the same in this country and that to say so is not political but faithful.

I want leaders to tell the truth, and for the rest of us to expect the truth.

I want children to be safe, and scientists to be believed, and music to be frequent.

I want us to recognize we can’t love America while hating Americans.

I want making a buck to be an honorable endeavor, but not an excuse for another’s suffering.

I want freedom to be a declaration of my responsibilities more than an assertion of my rights.

I want us to remember that truth is always complex, so you can, for example, support police and still demand an end to brutality; you can protest and still eschew violence.

I want a willingness to sacrifice for the common good to no longer be seen as the life choices of losers, but as something to be admired.

I want friendships to determine how we see the issues, rather than issues determining who our friends are.

I want children to go to schools where they can learn not just skills for a job, but can learn to be adults.

And I want kindness to be the power that defines human relationships.

I want us to remember that worship is not just an experience, but a discipline, a regular return to the source of our lives.

And I want to be more faithful tomorrow than I was yesterday.

I’m not telling you what you should want. I’m telling you that when I think about Jesus, these are some of the longings that emerge in me.

So, do the same. Think about the life of Jesus and ask yourself, “What do you want?””

Amen and Amen.

Have a blessed Week.


- Sermon Do You See Me? Rev Tom Are, Jr.


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