As children go back to school it seems all eyes are set towards Christmas. On entering a shop on 10th September what did I see? Rows of Christmas cards! Leaflets have already come in the post advertising special ideas for Christmas services, catalogues have arrives for those Christmas presents you always knew you wanted to buy and pubs have started advertising Christmas dinners! Why is it we always seem to look to the future while living in the present? Can't we just slow down a little and take "one day at a time, sweet Jesus" to quote a certain country and western female singer from yersteryear.
The words of the Lord's Prayer say "give us today our daily bread", and I remember a lecturer telling us the original words used in the Greek New Testament can be translated "Give us bread, enough for today", food for the present yes, but no great store for tomorrow, please. We are reminded of the story of Moses and the Manna, that almost miraculous substance that appeared each day in the desert when the people of God were travelling to their promised land. Instructions were given to gather just enough for the day, and folk found that if they gathered more, then the surplus went bad and was good for nothing. Except for the Manna that appeared on the day before the Sabbath, then folk could gather two days worth and somehow it stayed fresh.
At the end of this month comes "Bible Sunday" and the collect - the special prayer prayed at all the services - will ask God to help us to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the Holy Scriptures. I think we should take the Lord's Prayer as an example of how we should read the Bible, and pray that we may read "just enough" for today, ... each day, ... each day, ... each day. I remember when I was a small child sitting with my parents as they read their daily portion of the Bible, just enough for that day. Too much and it would seem indigestible and the extra would seem to be of no use, too little would have us wanting to hear more. Just enough for today was the right amount.
All of us are guilty of storing up goods as we look to the future, and we would find it very difficult if each day we had to go and buy all we needed, just for that day. And yet the idea of looking to Christmas in September still seems a little indigestible to me. Let's mark harvest, bonfire night, buy our poppies and advent candles first, before we start buying for Christmas, surely that seems only right. But that's probably enough for today. "One day at a time sweet Jesus, that's all I'm asking of you", my lovely parishioners, and have a happy October.