time, clock, timer, count, countdown

From the Manse....

Depending when you read this I will already be back from my Sabbatical or shortly will be!

Another month or so and Liz and I will have been here with you for six years — where has that time gone?

The perception of time depends a great deal on what you are doing and what is going on around you. We know how time can play tricks and give the illusion of either going very quickly or slowly and sometimes both simultaneously.

In the Bible, the concept of time is interesting. Notwithstanding the "days" of creation, we assume that the narrative of the Bible stories, particularly in the Old Testament are as action packed and fast and furious as in say, Mark's Gospel. The truth is rather different.

The book of Exodus begins with a bit of a recap, reminding us in verses 1-7 about Jacob and his family settling in Egypt and his descendants becoming numerous. Verse 8 then speaks of a new King who knew nothing about Joseph etc. In the space of those 8 verses, 300 years or so have come and gone!

1 Samuel 3:1 tells us that in those days there were very few messages from the Lord, and visions from him were quite rare.

There are also the 400 years of silence — which refers to the end of the Old Testament in Malachi and then nothing until the events of the New Testament.

Time is one of our most precious commodities and yet our relationship with it is complex, messy and out of kilter. We talk of the dichotomy of how for some they find themselves to be money-rich and time poor. A number of recent articles speak of the chronic feeling of having too many things to do and not enough time in which to do them. 'Time poverty' is on the rise we are being told.

Rather than setting us free, our technological, fast moving, digitally driven, 24-hour news coverage world (where everything is a swipe of a screen or a touch of a button away), further imprisons us in this vicious cycle of being constantly contactable and available at all time.

Psalm 46:10 reminds us to "Be still and know that I am God" — a faith perspective that we find resonating in the poem 'Leisure' by WH Davies, that begins with the familiar lines,
"What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare".

How we find the time and space to be still and know God, will need to be considered and worked out by each and everyone of us.

My thanks to the Methodist Church and to you all for the gift of a Sabbatical — an opportunity to find refreshment and renewal.

With love and God Bless


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