Our first book! I love that we're gaining all these things in common through our CIRCLES experience. All right, so I'm definitely a fan of Here and Now. It's all so simple, so straightforward. Just like many people have said, the idea of living in the present (although it's one we've all been exposed to) catches me off guard sometimes.
I feel like there are two ways our culture goes on this. The first is to dwell completely in the past or become burdened by the future. In this way, we reject the present completely and drain it of any significance. The second is to live for present pleasure. Many take living in the present to mean living only for the sake of each moment, becoming entangled with the temporary pleasures of a self-focused lifestyle. This attitude abuses and degrades the present moment.
We're being called to a new attitude: focused on the present, with an eternal Kingdom in mind and in heart. The beauty of it jars me.
Just wanted to put a few parts that stood out to me here. Most of it had to do with how we treat our relationships, an area I often break and damage because of my sinful heart.
"As we recognize God's presence in our own hearts, we can also recognize that presence in the hearts of others, because the God who has chosen us as a dwelling-place gives us the eyes to see the God who dwells in others. When we see only demons within ourselves, we can see only demons in others, but when we see God within ourselves, we can see God also in others."
My interactions and judgments of others directly reflect my interactions and feelings on God and myself. This helps me understand why I judge others: that it is not because of the person, but because of my own heart.
"We all have these moments if we are attentive to the movements of God's Spirit within us. They are like glimpses of heaven, glimpses of beauty and peace."
He goes on to talk about the importance of claiming these for God's kingdom. To be intentional about the claiming proves essential; otherwise, we'll belittle these moments by blaming them on our own sort of romantic thinking. That is not enough. Heaven is happening now. I just hope God will open my heart to be a part of it.
"The question that truly counts is not whether we imitate Mother Teresa, but whether we are open to the many little sufferings of those we share our life with."
Ah, I love this one. Sometimes I find myself feeling guilty for not just picking up and moving to another country to be a missionary. But I need to have faith and trust that God will put that desire in my heart if that's where He wants me. While I'm here, wherever "here" is, to be like Christ means to be attentive to the people around me, to take notice of the subtleties of suffering in each of my relationships. Our sorrows all look different. The little sufferings are important too. Each of them are opportunities for us to show the love and grace of Christ to one another.
"I cannot take your pain away, I cannot offer you a solution for your problem, but I can promise you that I won't leave you alone and will hold on to you as long and as well as I can."
I think this speaks for itself. And I hope I remember this next time I'm presented with someone else's pain.
"All human relationships, be they between parents and children, husbands and wives, lovers and friends, or between members of a community, are meant to be signs of God's love for humanity as a whole and each person in particular."
This is radical. This is everything.
I love you guys. Thanks for doing all this alongside me.