Advent - Living the Moment
I recall a staff member at the College I attended in the early 1970s, often used her pet saying; “redeeming the time.” This phrase originates from the King James Version of Ephesians 5:15-16 that says, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” The phrase is also found in Colossians 4:5 “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time”. In both passages, redeeming the time is related to wisdom in how we “walk,” that is, in how we live.
The issue with Advent journeying is that we are so intent upon arriving at our destination that are not entirely present in the present and therefore overlook the joy of each unfolding moment. The NIV’s translation of Ephesians 5:16 uses the phrase “making the most of every opportunity” instead of redeeming the time. Rather than waste our days on frivolous pursuits that leave no lasting imprint, Scripture instructs us to be diligent about doing good.
Being in the present moment, or the “here and now,” means that we are aware and mindful of what is happening at this very moment. We are not distracted by constantly cogitating on the past or worries about the future, but centred in the here and now.
One of the features of Advent is considering the coming Kingdom of God, and raises such questions as “is there an afterlife?” or “what will the new heavens and the new earth look like?” Although such questions are important, solely focusing on these questions may draw our attention away from a crucial reality: The kingdom of God is among us, right here and right now. It exists and is experienced within the body of Christ, giving us a foretaste of heaven. This is the joy of dwelling in the immediate presence of God right now.
Good and gracious God, Sometimes we get so caught up in planning the future and remembering the past that we miss opportunities in the here and now. Rather than focusing on the realities of now, we concentrate on skewed memories of what was or hopeful projections of what could be.
Call us to each moment. Keep us aware of how the past informs them and remind us of how, when stitched together in just the right way, they can create a better future. With your encouragement, never let us gaze on the past or the future so steadily that we lose the opportunity of following you in each moment. Instead, inspire us to honour our past by carving out new and creative futures through the choices we make each day.
Call us to each moment. Encourage, embolden and empower us to have the perseverance
to follow you even if following sometimes makes us feel uncomfortable, unsure, or unstable
simply because we are uncertain of where you are leading us.
Teach us to prize the journey and the time spent with you, trusting you as we more fully embrace
each moment and follow. Amen