“The Greatest Moment of Your Life”
The month of January is named for the Roman God Janus. Janus was one weird looking dude. He was customarily portrayed with two faces. One face was looking toward the past, while the other was pointed toward the future. Janus became the Roman God of doors, transitions, time passages, and change itself. He has been associated with New Year’s Eve.
The word “janitor” is derived from Janus, since the bearer of that title is usually responsible, among other things, for watching over building doors.
The first week of January invites a kind of two-directional fixation. We look back on the major news events of the year. We sigh and say, “Isn’t it a relief that 2022 is finally behind us?” We simultaneously look ahead into the fog of the future, wondering what the next twelve months
are going to bring.
So which of Janus’s faces is more important-the one that looks back (which helps us learn, but also may burden us with regret) or the one that looks ahead (the direction that compels us to plan, but often afflicts us with worry)?
The Bible answer is straightforward: Neither.
Neither the past nor the future is as important as a particular moment: this moment.
The most important moment of your life is not something that has already happened. And it is not something that is still to come. The greatest moment of your life is NOW-because frankly, this is the only moment you’ve got.
This moment it turns out, is the only one you can connect with God. It’s not that God is bound
by time. The Bible suggests that God is eternally present in every moment-past, present, and future-simultaneously. But while our finite mind can reflect on the past and ponder the future, the only place where we can directly encounter God is the present.
People may talk about grabbing hold of each passing moment: Carpe Diem! Seize the day.
But none of us is actually equipped to hold on to a moment. We’re meant to hold on to
something else: the God who at every moment is holding on to us. The good news is that God
is not somewhere else, in another place or time, waiting to be found. God is available right
here and right now.
Which means that this moment, and the next one, and the one after that, all the way through 2023, will genuinely count. And they will count forever.
Ron Naylor, Chaplain