Luke 17: 20-25
The past is a memory, the future is a dream, today is a gift: the present. There is no future without the present. Our desire to plan for and look forward to tomorrow is relentless. We look for fulfilment beyond today: working for wealth, saving for holidays, planning for our future. Today is important, for no one knows what the future will bring. Life can change in an instant with the death of a loved one, a pregnancy, a transfer, a loss of job or income, or a diagnosis of illness.
In Grace Jantzen’s Becoming Divine (1999), she reminds us that our future driven obsession is inspired by an unhelpful Christian model of salvation. We look forward to the time when Jesus as Saviour will release us from pain and suffering, yet this future focus disregards the tragedies amongst us right here and now. We might look forward to a world without wars, famines, prejudice and hatred but are not always instrumental in doing something about it. Personal salvation overlooks, “the rest of the world [as it] goes up in flames” (p.165).
The kingdom of God is not some future event, or a different existence from that which we are living today. Jesus tells the Pharisees, there will be no one to say ‘Look, it is here! Look it is there! For look, the kingdom of heaven is among you. God is present in all beings, and in the mountains, rivers, oceans, valleys, storms, sunshine and rain. In this life, this present life, we witness God. We see, breathe, feel, smell and hear God’s presence – and God is good.
Angela Marquis works as a chaplain in a Tasmanian local primary school and with the Passionists at St Joseph’s Hobart Parish. She completed a Master of Theology in 2021 and is currently studying Biblical Hebrew with the Israel Institute. She enjoys rock climbing and long leisurely beach walks with her husband and four-legged daughter.