Dr. Sachi Nakamura
(Christian Books Translator, JCFN Board Member, Spiritual Director)
The other day, I was reading a book called “Just This” by a Catholic priest named Richard Rohr and found an interesting statement.
Rohr quoted Mark 13:33-35,
“Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.
Rohr said that this was the second coming of Christ, or “the eternal coming of Christ,” and that it is in fact happening “now.”
Leaving aside the theological arguments about eschatology, the second coming, and the rapture, I think everyone can agree with the doctrine that Jesus is always with us in his Spirit. Rohr tells us that Jesus, who is here with us, speaks to us and reveals himself to us through a variety of things, events, and occasions. He is waiting to pounce on us with a “Divine Ambush,” so to speak. But if we are still sleepy and absent-minded, how can Jesus do so? If we are still trapped in the past, still worried about the future, if we are not living in the “here and now,” how can Jesus do so? We hear this pretty often, but the Presence of God is not found in the past or the future, but it is always in the “present.”
Because we can’t return to the past or skip to the future, we will encounter God only in the “here and now.”
However, the “here and now” may feel inconvenient for us at times.
The quiet mornings when we are alone or when worshipping in church are the best times to meet the Lord. But when we are crazy busy or are up to our necks in despair, we may think that now is not the time for seeing God.
But what if when we are absorbed in something, the Lord is there too, patiently waiting to meet us…?
When I had this thought, I was hit with the realization that the verse “Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come” now had a new meaning.
When you get the chance, I recommend reading “Here And Now: Living In The Spirit,” a great book written by the author Henry Nouwen.