‘I matter therefore I am.’
One of the highlights of the recent short sabbatical was being in Salisbury to hear and meet Luigi Gioia, former Roman Catholic Benedictine monk turned Anglican priest. In a wonderfully stimulating study day, Luigi talked about how Benedictine spirituality is still very relevant. (He even asked me to sign a copy of my book – which given he is an excellent writer himself, seemed the wrong way around…)
Reflecting on the changes in society and the philosophy that inspires much 21st Century thinking and behaviour, he observed that we have moved on from Descartes’ first principle of ‘I think, therefore I am’ to one that says: ‘I matter, therefore I am.’
We live in a time when it’s clear the Ukrainian people (and to an extent his own people) do not matter to the Russian president. Many in the UK will say they feel they don’t matter to our own government, public authorities, businesses and others who exercise power and control. Indeed, many things can make us feel we don’t matter. Such as a task in which we invest a lot of energy only for someone else to take the credit. Or the impacts of change or rejection. Times when our opinion is not acknowledged or we don’t feel listened to.
We’ve all been there – and perhaps you are now?
Even when there is plenty of evidence to show we do matter, and that we matter a great deal, those times when we feel we don’t can undermine our sense of ‘I am’.
You may like to reflect on who or what helps you know that you matter.
One thing that is certain is that you matter to God. Although it’s easy to think otherwise when God seems far away or during those times when we experience loss or don’t feel we matter to friends, family, church, work etc etc.
Coming as it does from the Anglo-Saxon word for Spring, the period of Lent can be a time of growth in our faith and trust in God. A season which leads towards the ultimate demonstration of just how much we matter:
You probably know the familiar words: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life’ (John 3:16). Believe it or not, believe in him or not, Christ’s death shows how much we matter to God.
And not only that, for less than 48 hours later, the point is made yet again as if to make it absolutely clear to every single one of us.