This Sunday we continued our year-long exploration into relationships. For the month of August, we will look at being present in the moment. Our lives and our relationships are made up of thousands upon thousands of individual moments. When we are present during those moments, our relationships flourish. When we are distracted and unaware, our relationships suffer. When our lives are filled with anxiety, worry, thoughts of the past, or planning the future, we miss out on the here and now- the present moment. Many of us come to the end of our day and realize that, though we physically went through it, we really weren't present to the people or individual moments that made up our day. Our culture, with it's emphasis on self-gratification, self-promotion, and non-reflective lifestyle, all encourage us to avoid being present to the moment and relationships at hand.
Jesus, however, invites us to learn and live a different way. When faced with temptations to promote, gratify or elevate Himself, Jesus chose a path that was grounded in God's will, timing, and love (Matthew 4). In that confrontation, and throughout His life, Jesus showed us that we can be present to the difficulties and circumstances that come our way without being overwhelmed by them. He accepted life as life came to Him, without trying to plan or manipulate the future or control the past. In short, He trusted God to care for the outcomes of His life, moment by moment and interaction by interaction. Therefore, in His interactions with others He was intimate and present with the person in front of Him and God's intention for the moment (Mark 5:25-34, John 8:3-11, Matthew 8:1-13, 9:13-15, etc.).
Jesus was able to be present to the moment and know God's intention for the moment because He spent time with God. In Luke 5:16 we are told that Jesus "would often slip away into the wilderness and pray." This was His habit, His way of life. If Jesus needed to regularly "slip away" to be with the Father, we need to as well. It is in solitude, silence, and prayer that we learn to hear and trust the love of God. Without trust it is impossible to be truly in the moment. Trust allows us to let go of our anxiety, worry, thoughts of the past, or plans the future and to be open to the moment that is unfolding in front of us. And in that moment, if we are present we will encounter God and others and our lives and relationships will flourish.
Reflect this week:
Matthew 11:28-30The Message (MSG)
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
By Babs May-Clark