Live 8 was certainly a moment to be proud of, as were the Make Poverty History marches which brought so much hope before the bombs went off; but the challenge to us all, surely, is not to let such ‘moments’ be superseded by other, more fearsome events; nor simply to bide our time until the next big, hopeful thing rolls around for us to feel collectively part of.
Rather, the challenge is to learn how to live more fully within every moment we face; to try the sacred art of cultivating presence. We may not feel like we can change the world, but each of us can change the world around us through the choices we make and the lives we choose to lead.
The author Mike Riddell talks about the potential for us to choose between good or bad in the decisions we make day to day. They all happen, he says, within the present, on what he calls ‘the sharp blade of the moment’:
‘Here,’ he explains, ‘lie opportunities to create and to love. Equally present are the possibilities of abuse and cruelty. In the capsule of experience which is given to us each instant, we determine who we are and what is significant to us…’
It’s not always easy to know how to act within every situation we face. But if we keep in mind Jesus’ command – to love God, and to love our neighbour as ourselves – then we have a powerful compass with which to navigate through some of the trickier twists and turns along the road.
It may not mean that we join the movement. That’s our choice. And we may still find ourselves getting caught up and carried away in the big moments that punctuate our collective story. But if we choose to live on the sharp blade that dissects the past and the future, then our lives can surely gain a cutting edge as we help to bring God’s kingdom flickering into life – in the ‘now’, as well as the ‘not yet’.