Sermons

III Lent

March 24, 2019

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. AMEN.

I have thought recently that it would be interesting to look into linguistics – the study of languages.  I like learning about different languages, and have learned bits and pieces of a number of languages.  Unfortunately, I am not fluent in any language but English.

The problem is the way in which we usually have to learn languages.  We have to sit down and memorize declensions.  Interestingly, it seems in the study of any language, one of the first declensions that we are asked to memorize is the verb “to be” – I am, you are, he/she it is, they are, we are, etc.

From the Old Testament lesson this morning:

“Then Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, `The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, `What is his name?' what shall I say to them?"  God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, `I AM has sent me to you.'’”

There it is.  Isn’t it interesting that present tense of the verb “to be” is God’s answer to the question, “What is your name?”  I spent some time thinking about this this week.

It is interesting to me that God does not say that His Name is “I was what I was”, or “I will be what I will be”, but instead, “I AM”.  This led me to think a bit about time and God.

God does not use the past tense or the future tense, but the present tense of the verb, “to be” as His Name.  Of course, one thing that I thought about was the fact that God is not limited to time and space as we are.  God just is.

There has not been a time in which God was not in existence.  I can say this because we profess in the creeds of the Church that God created everything that is -- seen and unseen.  If God created everything that is, then it is impossible for there to be a time in which God did not exist.

The other thing about the use of the present tense, “I AM” instead of “I was” or “I will be” is that God is always in the present.  Or, should I say more correctly, God is always in our present.  Since God is not bound by space or time, then there is no such thing as past, present, or future for God.

But there is for us.  And that lead me to something which I think I will spend all of my life trying to do – live in the present moment.

I will admit that, more often than not, I am thinking about the past or looking forward to the future.  I am reminiscing about something wonderful in the past – or stewing over something unpleasant in the past, or feeling guilty about something I did in the past.

And when I am not doing that, I am looking forward to something wonderful that is to come – a holiday, a special time with friends.  Or fretting about something which I have not done but need to do – even though I would rather not do it. 

Or worrying about something that might happen in the future – over which I have no control in the present.

The present.  That’s right, there is always the present moment.  I will admit to you that I will often spend so much time in thinking about the past or the future, that I am not as fully engaged in the present as I could be.

This brings me back to God’s Name.  I think that God chooses the present tense – “I AM” because He is always in the present moment.  And people like me who spend too much time in the past and the future may just miss God’s presence right in front of me. 

I would suspect that I am not the only one who has this problem.  How many of God’s blessings do we miss in the present moment because we are too focused on the past or the future?

I would invite you to join me this week as I try to make a more conscience effort to be in the present moment – and to be present to God in the present moment – so that I might see God’s blessings in each moment of my life.

It is not going to be easy to change my ways, but I want to try.  It may even take a lifetime.

“Then Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, `The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, `What is his name?' what shall I say to them?"  God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, `I AM has sent me to you.'’”  AMEN.