We should live, find joy in what’s happening now

We must always reside, discover pleasure in what’s occurring now

As I wrote a couple of weeks in the past, I discover myself in a collection of life transitions. Transitions for me are often disagreeable. I do not like unknowns. I principally don’t love new issues, both. I desire routine, consolation and continuity.

Outdated and corny joke:

Query: What number of nation music singers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Reply: 12. One to vary the bulb, and 11 to sing about how significantly better the previous bulb was.

I ought to’ve been a rustic music singer.

I wrote earlier about a number of modifications which have affected, or might have an effect on, my and my household’s well-being.

However this is one other transition I am having a tough time with.

The small rural church I lead appears to be struggling in a manner I’ve by no means seen in 40-some years of ministry. And I assumed I might seen all of it by now.

Paradoxically, we thrived through the covid-19 pandemic. We shut the church home doorways and worshipped through Fb Stay and Zoom. Attendance multiplied into the 1000’s as strangers joined us on-line. Choices tripled through the Givelify app we used. It was an unimaginable and stunning flip of occasions.

We finally got here again to reside in-person providers, then needed to shut down once more briefly as a covid variant surged. Lastly, although, we returned to in-person worship. I assumed we would weathered the pandemic in miraculous trend and are available out the opposite facet intact.

Then, after the pandemic appeared lastly previous — folks started to fade away. For at the very least a 12 months, possibly extra, our in-person attendance has dwindled. It is as if of us cannot get again into the behavior of going to church. Longtime, trustworthy members have disappeared.

Whereas in our prime, some years in the past, we had 200 lively members, now our precise Sunday attendance hovers within the 30s and 40s, and a few Sundays has sunk to the 20s. As soon as upon a time our dynamic music program featured greater than 15 musicians, a few of them professionals. Lately it declined to only 4 of us — and this previous week we realized two of these are leaving.

Too typically, I’ve discovered myself mourning the glory days and worrying in regards to the future.

Final Sunday after church, our congregation’s two elders and I had a prolonged assembly at an area restaurant. When the assembly was over, one elder, Wayne, needed to go, however the second elder, Stacy, and I hung round a couple of minutes simply chatting.

Stacy, along with being an elder, additionally directs our worship music.

I began digesting the most recent gloomy information in regards to the music, and conjuring up pictures from the bountiful previous. I mentioned one thing to the impact that I had no concept why all this loss was occurring or the place it could finish.

Then Stacy, who did not appear anxious in regards to the diminishing numbers, mentioned one thing smart.

None of that’s as much as us, she mentioned. All we have to know is that God continues to be current. The Holy Spirit continues to be shifting. We had a terrific service in the present day, with nonetheless many individuals had been there and with us limping by way of the music. Actually, there isn’t any previous and there’s no future. The previous is gone. The longer term’s unknown and might be what it is going to be. There’s solely in the present day. That is all there’s ever been. And in the present day we’re OK.

I instantly felt my spirits elevate.

I knew all this, in fact. I’ve learn it within the works of Christian mystics and Buddhist lecturers. Hey, Jesus himself mentioned it: “Don’t be concerned about tomorrow. Tomorrow can have sufficient troubles of its personal.”

I’ve tried to observe this profound fact, however I am embarrassed to confess how simply I lose sight of it. It does not come naturally to me.

By coincidence, this week I additionally learn a devotion on the Middle for Motion and Contemplation’s web site that included an excerpt from Buddhist creator Sebene Selassie. She was identified with stage 3 breast most cancers, but discovered pleasure, love and freedom even there.

“Pleasure just isn’t about glad or sad, liking or disliking,” Selassie explains. “Pleasure accepts every second for what it’s with out rivalry. We belong to any second just by assembly it with pleasure. That is freedom.”

It has been my expertise that we are able to practically at all times address — generally even thrive in — what we’re coping with in the present day. Our bother typically begins after we drag the bearable current off into the muck of how significantly better the previous was or how a lot worse the long run could possibly be.

Selassie cites a Zen trainer who mentioned: Pleasure is strictly what’s occurring, minus our opinion of it.

Sure. So significantly better to let go of all that and easily embrace the now, with out judgment or worry. We will select to treat every new day as a present we have been granted by the Lord, simply as it’s, with out regard to what got here earlier than or no matter will comply with. This second is our solely actuality; all the remaining is phantasm.

Paul Prather is pastor of Bethesda Church close to Mount Sterling, Ky. You may e-mail him at


Author: ZeroToHero

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