Rev Chris Westmorland
Well, I think it has finally worn off... The jet lag, I mean! For several weeks I kept up with life in two time zones - the place where I was and here where my loved ones were. It was a 5 hour time difference And that was just enough to rock my world the day I got there and the week I got back. Yes. I said the week. It’s no fun going to bed at midnight and waking up three hours later because your body feels like it should be morning when its still gonna be dark out for several more hours. That gets me thinking about how in our spiritual life, we are always living in different time zones.
We held two Bible Schools this year where we used the image of a time machine that imported us back to biblical days to relive Bible Stories that teach us lessons about God and us (Past). As followers of Jesus, we also live with an eye bent towards the future and a belief that our hope in the reality of Jesus makes the future brighter and better (Future). And then there is the present - where we live in this moment. Its the only tense that we have ultimate control over. We can’t change the past, even though sometimes we live there. We can help shape the future, but we can’t control it. No matter what our circumstances, we can manage ourselves in this present moment.
Thoreau said, “Live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find eternity in each moment.”
Jesus said, ‘No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God's kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.’” (Luke 9:62 MSG)
Mark’s Gospel tells about Jesus and a huge crowd that followed him. Bartimaeus was blind and poor and sitting by the road. When this blind beggar heard that Jesus was near he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” And his life was changed forever. Hours earlier he couldn’t have known, but being present in the moment and making a choice to see Jesus even though his eyes were failing, changed his life forever.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to be shaped by the past. When people ask me when it is that Jesus saved me, they expect to hear a date since my birth where I “took Jesus into my heart” but that’s not what I give them. I say, “Around 29 AD on a hill just outside of Jerusalem is where Jesus saved me - and it was confirmed three days later when death was defeated.” That changes everything about a future hope that isn’t overwhelmed by despair but redeemed by grace. Bartimaeus said, “Jesus is coming by my place right now and I refuse to miss this moment!” What Jesus moment will you refuse to miss right now? Yes, I know, sometimes it’s hard to see Jesus from the cubicle at work, or in the break room, or from the couch watching TV. And yet, He is there. He is here. And he is calling you to action - to Grow in your faith and to Go in service - TODAY.
We are called to live in three time zones as followers of Jesus. Sometimes we feel a little jetlag going back and forth, but truthfully we are meant to keep in mind that the past and the future shape this present moment. And this present moment has blessing in it. . . so find it.