Rev Chris Grasske

Snapchat and it is gone. I have often wondered how something that only lasts a few seconds could catch on. I am probably out of date saying it, but that seems to be what Snapchat does, and it HAS caught on. Take a photo, send it to someone and 10 seconds after viewing, it disappears. The advertising for Snapchat goes; ‘Life’s more fun when you live in the moment’. According to Wikipedia, Snapchat has 187 million daily active users. ‘Daily active users’ sounds as complicated to work out as the phrase ‘active participants’ when it comes to filling out church annual returns.

If I were to ask a group of people if they were active participants in their local church, I would get some people who go every week saying that they are not active, and others who go very occasionally saying that they are active, and others that they are very active in other ways. None of them would be wrong, it is just the way they interpret their own activity.

Our own activity, or activeness, in a particular field is relative, and based upon how we see ourselves in relation to those around us.

What I really wanted to ramble on about this month was not the instant nature of Snapchat, but the instantaneous nature of moments. We all evaluate each moment based on our past, which may well be very different from the past of the person we are talking to. While our meeting may be only a fleeting glimpse, we judge so much from that moment and can easily make assumptions without knowing what has gone before in their life. I have been here for six months, and they have been a good six months. I have met many good  people, some go to church to worship God, others do not.

A couple of weeks ago I had an encounter with somebody who had recently moved into the area. Their perception was that I had been here a long time, because they didn’t know of a time when I wasn’t here; I was here when they arrived and that moment generated the idea that I had been here a long time. The perception of those that have been here a lot longer is that I have only just arrived. Again, one could ask who is right, and the answer is, of course, that they are both right. Moments don’t last, and can never be repeated.

U2 wrote a song, Stuck in a moment. The chorus has the lyrics:

You’ve got to get yourself together
You’ve got stuck in a moment
And now you can’t get out of it
Don’t say that later will be better
Now you’re stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it.

In order to get out of a stuck moment, we need to change, sometimes this is painful, sometimes we welcome it, sometimes we resist it. I would like to suggest that unlike U2’s song, we can get out of it, all it takes is to be a little more like the last verse of the Timothy Dudley-Smith Hymn – Lord for the Years – which goes as follows:

Lord for ourselves; in living power remake us –
self on the cross and Christ upon the throne,
past put behind us, for the future take us:
Lord of our lives, to live for Christ alone.

So if your life is stuck in a moment, and you feel as if the 10 second duration of a Snapchat photo is rapidly fading; there is a way out, there is always hope. Church can be a place of peace and solace, of forgiveness and renewal. Just maybe it is worth a moment of your time.

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