Now. Here. This.
As of the printing of this month’s HighLites, the First Light column is no more. I’ll let you take a moment for that to soak in, or for you to remember that this was the title of this column each month.
I first made the decision for this name change back at the end of last year, and had planned to start with something fresh in December, just in time for Advent. But I’ll confess to you that while I knew I wanted to change the name, I had no idea what to change it to.
So I began to consider how exactly I hoped to use this space each month. Is it to simply be a kind of monthly “check in?” Is it a space for me to provide some theological commentary on the news? Is it an extended advertisement to feature whatever events or ministries happen to be front and center each month? Is it simply a space for spiritual reflection or formation?
In the end, I decided that each of these directions will likely be taken from time to time, along with a few more. But the thread that runs through each of them is something so essential to our lives and life together that we often fail to appreciate its influence. I must confess that it’s also something I’ve found myself thinking more and more about recently, as life seems to move faster by the day (and the child). And yet, it’s something in our worshiping and living together, Scripture tells us, is being redeemed. In short, the thread running through this monthly column, and really the Highlites in general, is time. To be more specific, the present time. To be even more specific, the present time we share together.
Now. Here. This. This will be the new name of this column. It’s said that not long before he died, Thomas Merton, the great writer, thinker and Trappist monk, shared with one of his closest friends that he had been meditating on these three words that had forced him to slow down and appreciate the simple beauties, blessings and possibilities that fill each and every moment.
Now: not some memory of the past or dream of the future, but the present moment.
Here: the place where you are and the people you are with.
This: the task or activity before you, that demands and deserves your attention, and even devotion.
Now. Here. This. The present moment and how we can live well, faithfully and together in it will be the subject of this space. At times it may require us to look backward and forward or to imagine places and people other their our own, and tasks or ministries with which we’re not currently engaged. I hope it will lead us to all of those different and important destinations. But in order to get there with any sense of health or wholeness or conviction, we’ll need to start with where, who and what God is doing through us in the present.
Now. Here. This. It’s where we already are, even when we feel otherwise. From this month on, it’s also where we’ll meet. But more importantly, it’s where God always is.