Lent 2016 Sermon for Lent 3

I don’t know if you ever watch the television comedy: Mrs Brown’s Boys?
It’s not to everyone’s taste – people tend to love it or hate it.
Personally, I love it and find its slapstick and irreverent humour hilarious.
At the end of the episode which was shown over Christmas,
Mrs Brown is sat in her kitchen mulling over the chaotic events of the week;
and she ended with the following words:
“The past doesn’t matter. The future? Who knows?
It’s the present that counts. Do you know why they call it the present?
Because it’s a gift. Enjoy the gift.”

How much of our life is spent worrying about, or mulling over, things that have past?
How much of our life is spent anxious about what tomorrow will bring,
or making plans for the future?
And all the while we are missing out on what is most important:
this moment, right here right now. The present. The gift.

Life is what happens, wrote John Lennon in one of his songs,
while we are busy making other plans.
How easy it is to miss out on the great gift of the present moment,
because we are too busy looking for gifts elsewhere?

This moment is a unique moment.
It is a unique moment in my life and your life.
We are never going to have this moment ever again.
We are never going to breathe this breath again.
It is a once and once only moment; and that makes it very precious.

This could be our last moment. It could be a life changing moment.
It could be a healing moment. It could be a moment when we are inspired.
It could simply be a moment of rest; a moments pause in our daily activities.
One thing is for certain – It is holy moment. It is a moment filled with God.
How often do we fully live the moment in awareness of that?

My dad suffers from short term memory loss. He forgets things very quickly.
When I visit him we will be sat in his living room and he will say: “It’s beautiful day.”
A few minutes later he will say: “it’s a beautiful day.” And so the morning will go on.
But, along with the frustration of forgetfulness
he has been given the gift of living fully in the present moment.

He notices and rejoices in the beauty of the day over and over again,
while I may recognise it once and hardly notice it for the rest of the day.
I have learned a lot from him over the last few years.
This moment is far too precious to be lost by constantly looking back at the last one
or anticipating the next one.   It is now that matters.

The Lenten reflection for tomorrow is about appreciating the small moments in life,
and not reserving our gratitude for life’s larger pleasures and events.
Find gratitude in the little things, writes Antonio Montoya,
and your well of gratitude will never run dry.

The word “Now” is one of the most common words in the Bible,
it is apparently used over 1300 times
– though, I have to admit, I have not counted them myself!
But there is a great emphasis in scripture
upon “this” moment as being the moment of our Salvation,
upon “this” moment as the time God speaks to us, comes to us, abides with us.

Our God is the God of the present moment.
It is in the small encounters of this present moment that we shall experience God;
it is in “this” moment, now, that we need to seek God
and open our hearts to recognise God’s presence.
Gratitude for the little things in life will help us to do just that.

Do you know why they call it the present? Says Mrs Brown
Because it’s a gift. Enjoy the gift.
And, I would add, be thankful.