Live in the NOW! The fierce urgency of NOW! NOW is the time! Serenity NOW! There is no better time than NOW! The Power of NOW!
These and more aphorisms are ones that we recognize and even repeat from time to time; often without realizing what these urgings mean for us, as we move, live, and have our being in this frenetic world in which we must live.
So, as our world becomes more and more obsessed with technological advances that can literally snatch away our ability to enjoy and savor the present moment (think of texting while driving, 24 hour cell phone access, e-mail bombardments, Social Media ad nauseum, 70 hour work weeks, etc.), we can become hostage to a culture that convinces us that we must always be turned up and turned on. Yet, Jesus urges us (and especially the women in this narrative) that living in and for the present moment is the pathway to spiritual peace and wholeness our souls must have to survive and thrive. Jesus teaches us that self-care, meditation, spiritual reflection, and giving ourselves the gift of present time to detach from our busyness, are imperative to the well being of body, mind, and spirit. Here are some of Jesus’ teachings about living IN THE MOMENT:
Luke 12: 29-32
John 14: 27
Why then, is LIVING IN THE NOW so important to a meaningful and authentic existence? How can adopting the practice and discipline of embracing the present moment assist us in living and enjoying a victorious and abundant life? What does scripture, and specifically Jesus, teach us about fully availing ourselves to the present, instead of worrying about the future, or wallowing in the past?
………….. And Now, THE WORD from OUR SPONSOR……………………
Luke 10: 38-42
Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
In Luke, chapter 10, we find that Jesus is traveling from town to town with his disciples; teaching and preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God. The Evangelist Luke informs us that Jesus is on the journey to Jerusalem; however, he decides to stop and visit at the house of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. The siblings are friends of Jesus and the gospel accounts show us that Jesus made several visits to his friends’ home. More than likely, Martha was the oldest, Mary the second sibling, and Lazarus was the youngest. Also, most likely, Martha and Martha were unmarried; as well as Lazarus. Since Jesus is coming off a ministerial tour where he has preached and taught to the multitudes, Jesus comes to his friends’ home to rest and reenergize.
At the home of Mary and Martha, Jesus encounters hospitality and love. The conventions of the culture dictated that women were responsible for providing the service to the guest: preparing the food and the home and making certain each guest was properly cared for. Hospitality was one of the most important constructs of Judaism. Martha, as the oldest sister, would have been in charge of providing for their guests.
Under ordinary circumstances, convention would dictate the proper behavior; however, Jesus, as we know, is the Convention Breaker! Our first clue to the breaking of convention is that Mary is seated at the feet of Jesus. This position was reserved for the favored disciple (follower). Not only would Mary have been chastised by the other disciples for positioning herself there; but, more than likely, she would not have been permitted to be in the room at all. Women, in this ancient context, were not allowed to be in the same room as men. They were not permitted to speak, unless given permission to do so. They were only allowed in the presence of men to serve food and to clean the table, unless otherwise permitted. Yet, here we see Jesus encouraging Mary to sit at His feet, which is the most coveted position of all.
Mary, encouraged and empowered by Jesus, leaves convention at the proverbial door and eagerly takes her place as a learned disciple. Martha, who is unwilling to break with tradition and convention, is literally frazzled by the tasks of feminine tradition, and reminds Jesus that Mary is “out of place.” Jesus gently reprimands Martha using the Greek word for distracted – perispao – which means: to be drawn away or to be over busy. Jesus points out to Martha that Mary “has chosen the better part.” Mary has given herself the gift of the present moment with Jesus. She is willing to embrace a new way to live. She is willing to shed all that blocks her from enjoying and sharing the present moment with her friend and her Savior. Not only does she delight in the present moment; but what she gains from it will always be a part of who she has become. As Jesus tells Martha, Mary has chosen the better part: kairos (Greek for time). This means that Mary chose the “right, opportune, or supreme moment.” So should we! Being in the presence of Jesus and living with gratitude for the present moment is the “kairos” moment.
As we notice from this narrative, living in the present moment is a choice. We can choose to be present and enjoy each moment as a gift from God with gratitude or we can choose to be distracted, pulled away, or over busy.
As Mark Caine observes: “The first step towards success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment you first find yourself.
QUESTIONS FOR OUR CONSIDERATION AND DISCUSSION
Describe what it means for you to “live in the moment.”
What do we gain from it and what do we lose when we choose not to?
What did Jesus mean when he said to Martha, “Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her?”
Why is distraction dangerous to our spirituality?
Why do you think this narrative involves two women instead of two men?
What does it mean for you to be “present with Jesus?”
Consider your life as “slices of pie.” There should be a time for every purpose under heaven”
Time for sleep
Time for physical exercise
Time for play
Time inwards (meditation, prayer, fasting, worship, praise)
Time for connecting with others (community)
Time out (resting/vacation/Sabbath)
Time to focus (work, study, school)
Make THE choice. Give yourself the gift of meaningful time!
written by Maxine E. Garrett – firstname.lastname@example.org