Minister’s Letter            September 2014                                                                         



 ‘Be still, and know that I am God’ Psalm 46:10a


The Lord be with you. 


A few years ago my Mother made a cross-stitch for me which I have hung in my office.  It’s not a picture, but rather some words:

“Yesterday is History, tomorrow is a Mystery, and today is a Gift: That's why we call it - the Present.” 


Over these past few months I have caught sight of it many times and paused for just a moment.   You see, many of us live by our diaries and their demands.   Daily entries structure our days and the empty spaces of our diaries seem to fill up very quickly.  


Quite often, as we scan our diary or calendar, we find our thoughts rushing ahead to the next event, trying to anticipate what it will be like or worrying about what might happen.  And we do it without realising that by doing this we are not living in the present but trying to live in the future, with all its uncertainties and apprehensions.


There are other times when we scan our diaries or calendars that we find ourselves slipping into the past, remembering an event or a conversation, and either being thankful for it or experiencing regret and wishing we could change things.


And so, whether we are aware of it or not, it seems as if we unconsciously move between future and past unable to enjoy what is here and now.   An unknown author puts it this way, “Having spent the better part of my life trying either to relive the past or experience the future before it arrives, I have come to believe that in between these two extremes is peace.”


So here are the challenges:

  1. to be still for 5 minutes at the end of the day and try to ignore the endless turning over of thought in your mind that competes with the silence; to be so aware of what is going on within and around us that we experience every moment as a gift from God. 
  2. to gift to someone your undivided attention; to really listen to someone without working out what you’re going to share out of your own life that is going to trump what they are saying.

I’ve heard it said that those who commit to living in the present report an amazing shift in focus in their lives: they are full of gratitude for each moment; they begin to notice the song of a bird; a blossoming tree; a person in distress; a neighbour in need of help.


On the 18th of January 2008, friends of ours - Jeannie and Sandy - were walking along the pavement leading into Banchory when they were hit by a car which had mounted the pavement.  Sandy took the brunt of the hit.   The week before Jeannie had undergone surgery and was preparing to undergo radiotherapy, and now she had a fractured fibula cuts and bruises.   But Sandy’s injuries were much more severe.  The movement on his right side was limited, his memory was poor, his speech was a sluggish and his voice weak.  Over time things would improve but there was never a full recovery.   The following years were a struggle for them both.   Once when I spoke to Jeannie about their changed circumstances, this is what she said:  “When we get to the end of each day we look back over it and look for the good in it.  Even if something has been difficult for us, if we can then smile or laugh at it - it’s a good thing.   And after we have gone through the day looking for the good things – we sit in silence for a few moments and we give thanks to God”


I wonder if in our busyness we might dare to stop at random times and remind ourselves that, “Yesterday is History, tomorrow is a Mystery, and today is a Gift: That's why we call it - the Present.”


Until the next time:  The Lord bless you and keep you.


Your minister ... Mary


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