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Today

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118: 24)

It is the same wheat field that caught my eye when I drove by twenty-four hours earlier. It has been a good year, rain coming at all the right times. The wheat is thick and dark green. But the difference one day has made is noticeable. Yesterday there were only stems, hardy and upright. Today, little heads are beginning to sprout. It will not be long before the green begins to fade, and I will be able to detect, on a daily basis, its slow transformation into “amber waves of grain.”

Driving to Siete Ranch gives me a ringside seat to the greatest drama ever: the greening of the earth, the blooming of the foliage, the unfolding of God’s creative power. When I stop and think about it, I am mystified at how this happens before our very eyes, and how for the most part we fail to see it. Distracted by the many man-made baubles and trinkets of the world, we all tend to allow miracles to unfurl in full view, seen and yet unseen.

Among the big lessons, I have learned in my seventh decade is the powerful truth that today is all we have, but today is abundant because God is at work in the world. Unfortunately, the power of that insight has been somewhat trivialized by its presence on countless coffee mugs and needlepoint wall hangings. They provide nice, cheerful reminders, but they tend to overlook how difficult it is to truly grasp the meaning. They fail to acknowledge our human tendency to spend most of our mental energy dwelling in either the past or the future.

Remaining present to God in the here and now is one of the most daunting challenges of the spiritual life. If you doubt this, try sitting in silence for five minutes and observing where your brain takes you. It will be either to the past or the future, and you will surely experience some frustration as you attempt to rein in your brain’s compulsive insistence on being anywhere except in the present moment. In other words, anywhere except present to God.

Jesus said to take notice of the lilies of the field, how they grow effortlessly without toiling or spinning (Matthew 6). Jesus could notice them because Jesus lived fully in the moment, his spirit perfectly attuned to God’s. It is more difficult for you and me. But it helps when we start the morning by acknowledging that it all comes from God: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Rev. Don Underwood