Living in the Present

C.S Lewis, writing as a senior demon in The Screwtape Letters, described the Present moment as such; “The humans live in time but our Enemy (God) destines them to eternity. Therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.” Notice how C.S. Lewis intentionally makes Present capitalized. He is letting us know that an experience in the true present time and an experience of God are one and the same. Within Youth Ministry, especially summer ministry, we get so caught up in trying to plan the trips, Life/Edge Nights, social nights, and collecting loads and loads of paperwork (that was supposed to be due last week) that we often forget to be present within our summer ministry. Through conferences and camps are life-changing; sometimes, Mass on a sandbar or a game of ball tag on the school playground equipment is enough to experience God.

This group of seniors that will be moving on to college at the end of the summer will be a tough loss for me. Many of them have been together for the last eight years in youth group. Watching the group of boys “mature” from me almost kicking them out of the youth group, to being some of my best Core Members for Edge is what every Youth Minister dreams of. However, it was not until we started summer ministry that it finally clicked. After our usual Q and A with Father Becker and myself, they asked if we could play Gaga ball like we used to. Gaga quickly divulged into Ball Tag with everyone yelling “Parkour!” while climbing all over/jumping off the Elementary’s playground equipment.

Everyone was laughing and running around like 2nd graders. It was pure joy. After an hour of ball tag, we sat down, out of breath…ok, mainly just me…, we asked Father Becker to pray over all of us and then, being the anniversary of his ordination, we prayed over him and thanked God for his witness. There was joy, and there was peace in that moment.

The joy flowed into the next week while canoeing, and in classic JPII style, we had Mass on a sandbar. With half the group standing in the water, we celebrated Mass in the midst of God’s creation. Watching the boys, who drove me nuts when they were in Middle School, reading the Scriptures, filled me with a sense of pride that I feel watching my own son’s accomplishments, all the while understanding God was at work in this group way before we ever met. We all experienced peace…and then immediately started flipping canoes again.

An encounter with God can happen anywhere we allow Him to be with us. If we stop worrying about the future and, if Tommy is going to get his paperwork in on time, we can better see the joy experienced together in the Present. We, too, will get a glimpse of what eternity with God is all about.

Photo by insung yoon on Unsplash

About the Author

Andrew Brueggen

Andrew is your typical Wisconsin Youth Minister. He loves Cheese Curds, Culvers, and grew up on a farm, but he doesn’t like the Packers (Go Broncos). Andrew loves playing Smash Bros and FIFA, weightlifting, his kids, and weightlifting his kids. He is located in La Crosse, Wisconsin aptly named "God’s Country."

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