“In the moment” – don’t just do something, sit there!

– responses to recognizing God’s presence in this moment…

“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:18-19
– taking a deep breath

This past Sunday in church was the first in a Lenten series designed to help us to experience the coming few weeks as a pilgrimage of sorts. Traveling to Jerusalem, through the season of Lent, in a focused examination – and hopefully experience – of what it means to journey purposefully.

Not just the message, but the entire order of worship has been reframed to help facilitate the metaphor of hiking along an ancient pilgrim way.

Sunday’s theme was an encouragement to “Live in the moment.” One of the primary benefits of getting outside, walking a trail, climbing a mountain, even walking the dog first thing in the morning and late at night, is disconnecting from all the distractions and taking time to simply “be.”

It reminds me of a lesson I learned from a study on Buddhism: In the west we say, “don’t just sit there, do something!” But in the east the wisdom is more “don’t just do something, sit there!”

More than a metaphor:

This is why the pilgrimage metaphor can work, even if we don’t grab a backpack and hike eight weeks in the wilderness like I did when I walked the length of Virginia on the Appalachian Trail.

What better to do at the beginning of this Lenten journey than to recognize the power of living in the moment?

Taking pause from checking our email, thinking about the grocery list, scrolling through Facebook, planning goals and objectives for the next few hours, ruminating over the past, doing laundry…

But instead drinking deeply from the well of knowing we are alive, and loved deeply, exactly where we are – and that our existence as children of God brings joy to The Creator.

Can we pause long enough right now, in THIS MOMENT, and breathe in the truth that life is a gift to, sometimes, simply rest in?

At the end of his message, pastor Mac asked us to reflect on the moment we currently occupy. For me, dabbing at my eyes because Mac’s closing story had made him cry, it was about accepting God’s touch and resting in it. We were asked to write something inside the “footprint” on the bulletin cover and then pin it on a wall of the sanctuary.

Right now, today, as you read this, please pause and ask God, simply and directly, to be evident to you and with you in this moment.

It is a good way to begin our pilgrimage to Jerusalem, to Holy Week, to The Cross, and then Easter Sunday.

Peace – in every way, in every moment – DEREK

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