Here’s my bulletin article from a couple weeks ago.
There is a strange dynamic at work in each of our lives, one that has become so second-nature to us that we often fail to notice the way in which it shapes us. Make no mistake about it, however, we humans cannot escape the fact we were created to be bound by time.
As we do with other aspects of life, we have become quite proficient at dissecting the notion of time so that what is at times unmanageable can be spoken of and thought about in manageable ways using manageable terms. Our consciousness as people is shaped profoundly by such notions, particularly past, present, and future. In some ways this is extremely important. If we are incapable of distinguishing between past and present or present and future or past and future, we lose our ability to function rationally.
At times, however, the segmenting of time into these three categories can be dangerous, if not destructive. This is particularly true when we think about these categories generally instead of specifically. The past easily crystallizes into a set of bad circumstances and flawed decisions to be avoided at all costs instead of a complex combination of positive and negative circumstances and good and bad decisions. The future easily becomes something of which we are afraid because nothing is certain or for which we long because we have everything planned out, instead of a complex combination of uncertainty and certainty of hopeful and discouraging developments.
Unfortunately most of our time spent thinking about the present is not really thinking about the present at all, it is merely longing for a return to the past or longing for an escape to the future. I suppose this is why so many of us wake up discontent not just on occasion, but frequently, always longing to return to a treasured experience or to fast-forward to some imagined scene of bliss.
If, however, our faith is anything more to us than an insurance policy or a social status symbol, we cannot settle for such attitudes and behavior. Instead, we join with the Psalmist today and every day in proclaiming with our words and our lives, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice today and be glad!”
What’s your reaction? Do you find yourself longing for the past or living for the future, rather than embracing the present?