The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”
He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:29-36
I write this as I pack my bag for the last leg back home. There is something wonderful about returning after a good event. One is well worn out but full of joy for the experience. And looking forward to being greeted at the airport and falling into comfy clothes and tender surroundings. We humans are best when we feel we belong and are home, when we feel accepted right where we are and as we are. No need to prove anything or put on airs.
Our Gospel repeats the words of John, who knows well his relationship to Jesus. They are not in competition but known by God. They know they have a calling and a place. He is comfortable with his role in God's love story, thrilled to be able to play his part. He is comfortable with himself, knows he is accepted by God in his uniqueness. His security in that makes him free to love, free to be filled with God's spirit and presence. We are encouraged to see ourselves as loved by God exactly as we are. We too re participants in God's love story with the world.
Today, may we live as people who are loved by God. May we not spend one ounce of energy trying to prove our merit, but instead, raise our voices in thanksgiving for God's constant love. May we find complete joy right where we are today, knowing that God wants us as part of the on-going story of love for the world. May we happily do our part today.