The great present tense verb that is God.
That's what I've been meditating on today, this Last-Supper day.
When Moses asked the Name of the One who spoke from the burning bush, the answer was in the form of a present tense verb. "I Am that I Am." We often translate it, "I will be who I will be," so that it makes more sense to us, but really, it's the infiniteness of that, "I AM that I AM" that sticks. That rocked Abraham's world, and rocks ours too.
God is always in the act of being. He just plain be, if you'll excuse my poor grammar. Before the world was created, when, "IN the beginning, GOD..." to the moment He spoke to Abraham to leave Ur, down through Moses, Ruth, David, the prophets, and straight to that moment when He becomes flesh and dwells among us. Now acts, lives and breathes as we live and breathe. Yes, the days when Jesus walked on earth were in a particular time and place. But His action, His words, His being is not confined to those days and moments.
We discover this most clearly in the story of the Last supper (along with the seven "I AM's" He speaks, in John's gospel). In that upper room, we are swept right into a moment that transcends past and enters our present and extends until He comes again. "This is my body," He says, as He lifts ordinary bread His listeners understood how important bread was to their diet--it wasn't a side-dish that one could take or leave. No, it was the most basic, foundational food in life That's what is what Jesus wants us to get about who He is, how much we need Him. And how long we will. EVERY single time we eat together--in His name--He'll be there, in the most basic, important way. He IS there. Present tense. And it's a clever turn of phrase He uses--'my body, broken for you." We break bread together as a positive, communal thing. A communion, if you will. It's something that joins us. And yet, His being broken--in all its horror and pain--is what makes that community--indeed, that breaking of bread together--possible. And even now, His present tense action of saving us, and our responding to that salvation, it what makes our coming together--our breaking of the bread together, and experiencing that it's HIS body broken for us--possible.
And so with the wine. "This is my blood, shed for you." His blood was shed on that Friday morning on that hill above Jerusalem, but we also acknowledge the present tense truth of it every time we drink that wine together and commemorate that He will come again.
But beyond this, think of all the present tense verbs we know about our Triune God. He always acts on our behalf, He intercedes for us; while we stand, He fights the enemy for us; He heals, saves, hears, comforts, keeps us from falling, shields us, guides us, dies for us, REIGNS, dwells in us, speaks through us, speaks to us, teaches us, listens to us, hears us...and so many more, the list would reach from one end of the earth to the other.
In fact, isn't it true, that He is the epitome of present tense verb? That every perfect thing, everything true, honorable, good and right action in the universe can be attributed first to God? And can't it also be said that we are merely derivative of that goodness, when you think about it? That is, when we are good, we are acting most like the way He intended us to act and be--in His image.
That's the great present tense verb of God is: He lives. He LIVES. HE LIVES. Yes, He lives and NOTHING coming tonight or tomorrow morning, nothing man, woman, angels, demons, the devil himself tries to do can stop that.
As we move into good, dark Friday, let's hold on to that--our great Present tense of a verb God already IS. Was always already IS.