by St Paul's Collegiate School

The power of now - chaplain's comment

For this month's Informer, Revd Peter Rickman urges us to find some time amongst the chaos of life.

I love this time of year... Light is pushing back the darkness, life is bursting out from winter's long hold and a time of rest and refreshment starts to peer from around the corner of a very busy term. I also particularly enjoy this season in the life of our school because it’s also the season of the Year 9 led chapel services. Like dear old Forrest Gump‘s box of chocolate‘s analogy with life, these services too often reveal to us that “you never know what you’re going to get!”

For the past few weeks, we have been challenged, entertained, nurtured and inspired by a regular morning diet fed to us by our young would-be preachers and teachers. We have been encouraged to think about themes such as patience, opportunity, uniqueness, self-indulgence, honesty, kindness, charity, acceptance, overcoming difficulty and more recently the rather thought-provoking service entitled “The Power of Now”.

This service particularly spoke to me in the context of not only my life but in the lives of so many I see around me. Lives that are often lived at high speed, with significant pressure and often huge workloads piled on top of busy family schedules. This particular Year 9 led service laid down the challenge that is to not necessarily attempt to slow our lives down but to live our lives in the context of the here and now; to not be a slave to the past or to spend time worshipping a possible hoped-for future. The preacher persistently drove home the point of not only focusing on the here and now but to enjoy it as well, communicating that the moments of now will never repeat themselves, they cannot be relived or revisited. We are to be mindful of self, others, our surroundings and the beauty to be found and discerned in every given moment of life.

This particular reflection was followed by another I heard at church the following Sunday morning. Going from one extreme of age to the other, I listened to an elderly preacher, aged almost 90, deliver a sermon, not from the fire and passion of youth, but from the experience and wisdom of almost nine decades of life and faithful Christian devotion and discipleship. Coincidentally, he too spoke about the “power of now” and coupled this with the much-needed warning that we need to find ways to occasionally slow our lives down. At first, I found myself nodding enthusiastically with his suggestion of having more time for reflection, meditation and simply being rather than doing, and then I realised I didn’t have the time, not this week anyway, perhaps next week ...

Many of us will find ourselves in similar positions, recognising the very real need to be slowing our lives down, yet at the same time despairing at the lack of opportunity and time to do so. It is a tension, it is a struggle but it is a battle of the utmost importance that we dare not lose. For the sake of our own social, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing we need to constantly examine how we can occasionally find an oasis of calm and stillness so that we can contemplate and discern the things of the Spirit within and around us.

“The Power of Now” - a great message amongst many other great messages during this season of Year 9 led services. As we each, in our individual ways, try to seek out and spend time at the “oasis”, in spite of our levels of success, we must remember to savour each and every beautiful moment of life that we have been blessed with. It is a gift, that’s why we call it the “present”.

Arohanui, blessings