Pastoral Ponderings May 2016

Pastoral Ponderings . . .

Dear God,

Who created time?

Sounds like a silly question, doesn’t it? But those are the type of questions that go through a preacher’s mind all the (if you’ll excuse the obvious) time.

I know you made the heavens and formed the shape of our planet which we call earth and Earth. I know you set the sun and moon in the sky and threw a million, million stars into the heavens…many of them exist as entire solar systems of their own. I know the stars cast light from so far away that even if they were to die out and go dark their light would pulse through “light years” to meet my eyes before its light dims to me. The sun “rises and sets,” even though I know it’s the Earth that’s turning. Every new day begins with the sun “rising,” as always, from the east…never from a different direction (that would be confusing) and we gather silently on the beach or pause when we’re doing something just to watch the sun “set” and “fall” into the horizon.

But who created time…the seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years which define nearly every aspect of our lives? Whoever developed our “clocks” was either brilliant or a sadist.

Time flies. Time drags. Time is a friend. Time is an enemy. But time itself is value-free.

Time changes with our age or circumstances, and it can change throughout the day itself. It is a constant that seems never to be constant. When I’m at the gym on the rowing machine I tell myself, “Only two more minutes.” Those two minutes can fly by when I’m feeling good or seem like an eternity when I’m not so energized. Sometimes they are too much for me and I quit before the two minutes are actually up (thought I had to admit that to you). I tell myself, “You can do anything for two minutes!” but sometimes that’s not true.

When love is new time flies when lovers get together but seems to drag until the next opportunity to hold hands. Texting has perverted that because it’s become common place to begin texting as soon as we part and until we meet again…linking that time of separation which is intended to allow us to miss a person and consider the relationship. When love dies time slows to an agonizing crawl as the love once exciting has extinguished. Unlike the stars in the heaven the light fades quickly. That’s grief.

We wish for more time, ask for time to hurry along, think ahead to times that will come, think back to times past, dread the future, wish that we lived in another time, recall memories of times which bring us warmth and peace, and remember times which were awful…grateful that we got through them.

So what’s this all about? Why am I thinking about this with you?

It’s because I’m struck with my own ability to be content in this day. I’m not like that everyday, and I’ve gotten better at living contently just “One day at a time.” But I see that I can still get caught up in looking forward or backward and can become frustrated, remorseful, or disillusioned.

I was thinking of this when I read from the Gospel of Matthew (Chapter 6:24-34) during a funeral recently. The writer says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” I’m intrigued that it focuses on “trouble” and “worry” instead of “anticipation” and “joy”. Perhaps it’s because you knew that we can too often spend our entire lives in worrying about our troubles or pains. After all, worry is never about too much good stuff…it’s always the anticipation of bad stuff.

And so, when you gave thoughts and motivation to the writer of Matthew you reminded the world that all we have is this moment…tomorrow is a dream…yesterday is a memory…both of which sustain and move us. But this day, this hour, this moment is what you have given us. That means that it’s up to me to enjoy the breath you gave to me, to feel my heart beating, to enjoy the loves and friendships which sustain me, and to be aware that you are as close to me as breath itself.

In this I can feel contentment and peace even when the world swirls around me.

So, Lord, help me take the time (I couldn’t resist) to thank you for this moment. I love you,

Dan