The following will be printed in the PCW newsletter in the coming weeks…
…Already but not yet…I first heard this phrase early in my faith journey while learning about different Scriptural understandings of the Kingdom of God. As Jesus describes the Kingdom of God, he speaks of how the Kingdom is already present in the world and that glimpses of it are all around. But there is more to the Kingdom in that there is an aspect that is yet to be realized. It’s a beautiful concept that forces us to live “in the now” because, to live as a part of God’s Kingdom, we cannot be exclusively focused on either of extreme. We cannot focus exclusively on the “not yet” because we would miss those parts of the Kingdom that surround us in every moment of our lives nor can we focus on the “already” because we would lose sight that the fulfillment of the Kingdom still awaits us.
I feel very much in an “already but not yet” part of my life right now. I am very much in two places in my life – still officially the associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Sioux Falls but also having been officially extended a call as head-of-staff pastor at The Presbyterian Church of Wyoming. Amy and I are looking at houses in Wyoming, Ohio while still living in (and getting ready to sell) our house here in Sioux Falls. We continue relationships with people here while beginning those with our new congregational family. We think of being Ohio residents while still waiting to vote in South Dakota on November 4. I could keep going on many other topics related to this transition, but you get the idea.
This “place” in my life requires living in the now. While I am incredibly excited to partner in ministry with you in Wyoming, I also realize that there is much to be done here in Sioux Falls before I will be ready to move on from here. And while there are many ties here that will be difficult to say goodbye to, I know that my time here is short and there is a new adventure that God is leading me and my family into. And so, each day is a day to live “in the now” – living simply in the day to day reality and beauty that is life in God’s presence.
Jesus had something to say about this as well. Matthew’s Gospel records Jesus as saying the following during the Sermon on the Mount:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear? For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:25-34 – NRSV)
Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness…A good prescription for what we are to live for in the now, regardless of where the already is and what awaits in the not yet.