|This month, we sit in that middle place between the rush of energy that comes with the new year and the shift we will make in March toward the solemn season in Lent. The Sundays go on, week after week, green vestment after green vestment, and you might be like me: wondering what to do with and in this middle place.
One of my greatest challenges is being in the present moment. I live very easily in both the past and the future, driven so deeply by past goals that I’m still hustling to achieve and future hopes that I pray will reach their fruition. The hardest place for me to live in is this moment, and I have to admit that I’m showing up to this middle place of February with the discomfort I feel when I know I am being asked to simply be present to wherever it is that I am.
If you’ve been reading my reflections each month, you know already that I tend to look ahead, as I am always saying things like: God is leading us into something! Mark your calendars! Pray for the future of this church! But today, for this month, I write to you with a bit of a different word: take a minute to be wherever it is that you are, and take the time to acknowledge that that is where God is calling you to be. Sure, we will all look ahead; it’s human nature. This newsletter is certainly asking you to mark your calendars! But also, take a minute to slow down so much that you end up in this very moment. Wonder, if you will, what riches and treasures God might have stored up for you in just this one day, that you might miss if you rush past it into the goals of tomorrow.
There is something so enticing about tomorrow. I once heard a quote from Rob Bell, in which he said, and I am paraphrasing, “Despair is the fear that tomorrow will be just like today.” There is something about the idea of a tomorrow—the idea that, given the cares and worries of this world, the cares and worries of today—if we can just make it to tomorrow, tomorrow might be different. And I feel that pull so much myself.
But when we encounter Jesus in scripture he is not only a God of tomorrow, as he proclaims the fullness of his truth which requires the truth of “tomorrow;” he is also a God of right now. A God who stops what he is doing. A God who talks to, heals, listens to, and loves strangers that show up to him in the very moment of their first meeting.
Of all the people in the world, Jesus is the only one who can really use the excuse, “I’ve got better things to do than this!” and yet he rarely does. When he is faced with those who want to know God, when he is faced with those who believe or want to believe, when he is faced with those who trust in God if even only through their desperation—he lives in that very moment; he doesn’t put their requests off for tomorrow. He doesn’t wonder if tomorrow has something better for him than the request he faces today. No, he leans into that very moment.
He is able to lean into that very moment, he is able to live into today while enacting tomorrow, because he fully trusts in God. He is able to see that the person in front of him is his greatest concern because he believes that God is truly sufficient for him and that through God, nothing is impossible. In being present, in being a God of this very moment, Jesus shows us how to trust.
So, this month, I invite you to join me in doing the difficult work of sitting in this very moment. I’m pretty terrible at it, but in trying to do it, even my failures bring me closer to the “right now,” where God is waiting to show me the beauties of this very day.